As most of the Atlanta Public Schools community enjoyed a much-welcomed Spring Break, quite a number of our district team members, especially operations and transportation crews, worked through the vacation break to prepare for the traffic congestion expected after the closure of I-85. That was the kind of spirit and dedication we saw (and I wrote about here) immediately after a portion of the interstate collapsed on Thursday, March 30, that enabled us to have a successful school day the following day.
But we still needed a longer term plan for when students return on Monday, April 10.
In order to minimize the impact of increased traffic on schools and students, we are requesting that all bus riders from Morningside Elementary School and throughout the North Atlanta cluster (including Bolton Academy, Brandon, Garden Hills, Jackson, E. Rivers and Smith elementary schools; Sutton Middle School and North Atlanta High School) report to their bus stops 15 minutes early beginning Monday so that buses have additional time to ensure an on-time drop-off.
For parents who drop off their children in the mornings within the North Atlanta cluster and at Morningside Elementary School, we will be opening the school doors 15 minutes earlier than normal in hopes of reducing congestion around schools.
For the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year:
- Elementary school doors will open at 7:15 a.m. with a start time of 8 a.m.
- North Atlanta High School doors will open at 8 a.m. with a start time of 8:45 a.m.
- Sutton Middle School doors will open at 8:30 a.m. with a start time of 9:15 a.m.
The district will also make the following adjustments:
- Atlanta Public Schools is creating a temporary bus compound at North Atlanta High School in order to park buses serving neighborhoods on the north side of the city.
- Atlanta Public Schools Police Department is working in partnership with the Atlanta Police Department to provide increased traffic support around schools and neighborhoods with anticipated traffic concerns.
- In an abundance of caution, the district is stocking all of the impacted buses with bottled water in the event that students are stuck in traffic for extended periods of time.
The district will be closely monitoring the situation next week and will make adjustments to the plan as required. We do expect that bus routes will likely be delayed, and we appreciate the patience from our students, families, staff and other stakeholders as we work diligently to respond to the traffic pressures associated with this unforeseen interstate closure.
Many thanks to Deputy Superintendent David Jernigan, Chief Operating Officer Larry Hoskins, Transportation Executive Director John Franklin and other committed colleagues and teams who worked all week to test and shape the strategy.
Please enjoy the rest of Spring Break. We look forward to seeing our beautiful students, teachers and staff on Monday!