While most of the winter weather predicted over the weekend will be confined to the northeast part of the state, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said she can’t rule out patches of sleet on the fringes of metro Atlanta beginning early Sunday.
“We could even see some freezing rain that creeps into parts of the metro area, too,” Minton said. “It’s staying out of Atlanta, but cutting into parts of Gwinnett, maybe even getting toward parts of Cherokee County, so we’ll keep a close eye on it.”
School systems are also keeping an eye on it.
The Cobb County School District released a statement Friday saying: "We are aware of the chance of inclement weather and are monitoring the situation. We will update Cobb parents by 5:00 PM Friday and multiple times over the weekend as our team monitors forecasts for Cobb County. We ask that parents make sure to update their text and email preferences with the local school so they receive messages about changes to the school day."
When bad weather and emergencies happen Cobb County officials must decide when to close schools. Lots of time and thought go into making that decision for the district's 112,000 students and their families.
Here is some insight into the process, including who makes the decision, how it’s done, and how you'll know when it's made.
Who makes the decision?
According to the district's website the superintendent and administrative staff carefully watch the weather conditions during seasons of possible inclement weather. They consult with local law-enforcement, review weather reports and take into consideration that even if roads may be clear on one street, they may be dangerous in other parts of the county. The director of transportation tests the road conditions on bus routes as early as 3:30 a.m.
The superintendent of schools is responsible for the final decision, based all of these factors and recommendations from district staff.
How is the decision made?
District officials consider the following factors when deciding whether to close schools:
- Information on road conditions from the director of transportation and from law enforcement, including whether roads are icy, flooded, or impassable;
- Time that precipitation begins to accumulate and the amount;
- Weather predictions;
- Building conditions (e.g., whether schools have power and heat);
- Parking lot conditions;
- Temperature and wind-chill.
When is the decision made and how will you know?
The decision is made by 5:30 a.m .— except in situations when inclement weather may force school closings during the school day — so that radio and TV stations can be notified.
Details will be posted immediately on the school district website and on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Parents will also be notified through the district's automated calling system.
WSB radio at 750 on the AM dial also gets the closing decision and broadcasts it.
And, what if school closes during the day?
If school closes during the day all students will be sent home on their regular bus or daycare van unless other directions from a parent are on file. Parents should give a written explanation to a teacher of where their student should go in these situations. School staff will not accept phoned in directions for students during this time.
Parents can also sign up for texts, emails or phone notifications through the school system. Contact you local school front office to make sure that it has your most current information.
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