We are delaying the start of school tomorrow by two hours due to the threat of severe temperatures in the Atlanta Metro Area. The state and most metro school districts will also be delayed. The cold and rainy weather descended upon Atlanta this week with the possibility of freezing rain, sleet, and the dreaded black ice.
Atlanta Public Schools has been closely monitoring the weather conditions in coordination with the National Weather Service, city and state officials and other Metro Atlanta school districts. Due to the forecast for temperatures to fall below freezing early Tuesday morning and the potential for black ice, and in alignment with the Governor’s Office, APS made the decision to delay opening schools by two hours tomorrow as follows (Schools that have alternative bell schedules should adhere to the two-hour delay):
• Elementary Schools will open at 10 a.m.
• Middle Schools will open at 11:05 a.m.
• High Schools will open at 10:30 a.m.
Transportation pick up times will be delayed two hours from normal pick up schedules. All dismissal times will remain the same. APS Facilities staff should report at 9a.m. APS District administrative offices are also on a two-hour delay and APS employees should report two hours later than their normal reporting time. For APS charter schools, parents, caregivers and employees should contact their schools directly for scheduling information.
We will continue to monitor the forecast and we encourage everyone to exercise caution when traveling throughout the metro area tomorrow.
The forecast predicts better weather throughout the rest of the week.
I know how frustrating it can be to delay the start of school and the impacts of bad weather on you and your family, especially when little ones need to walk to bus stops, you have to get to work, and the day is disrupted.
This is the main reason why Atlanta Public Schools works extremely hard to inform parents of our decisions as far in advance as possible. We have a set of protocols in place to notify families, staff, and our community of everything we know about the conditions and forecasts.
Remember when we are making any decisions on inclement weather, the safety of our staff is a key priority.
As we enter into this season of wintry weather, I’d like to remind our students,families, staff and others about the APS protocol for inclement weather.
You can expect updates on winter weather in a variety of APS channels. We diligently update our website, our social media channels as well as stay in close contact with our schools. You can feel confident to contact your school first if you have questions about weather-related issues. It is my goal to make sure our principals are updated with the latest information regarding our inclement weather decisions.
Now is also a great time to make sure your contact information is updated. Our main way to contact parents is through our campus portal. Here you can update your phone number, email, and communication preferences. Access the campus portal here.
Every year, I update the community on our procedures and you can read about our process in detail in prior blog posts here. You can get a good overview of our decision making process there.
In a nutshell, this is how it works….When severe weather is predicted, our team begins monitoring the weather. We are in close contact with the National Weather Service, Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Management, and Georgia Emergency Management. This coordination helps us make the best decisions for our students’ safety. Updates regarding the conditions are provided to the Core Weather Team.
The APS Core Weather Team includes representatives from APS Operations, Transportation,Safety & Security, Facilities Services, Communications, Curriculum and Instruction, Nutrition and Information Technology departments. This team will discuss the implications of the severe weather. I make calls and am in contact with area superintendents. Our team joins conference calls with the city and the Atlanta-Fulton Emergency Management Agency and others. After all of this information is taken into account, we make a decision and move forward with communicating.
It is always my goal to go through this process as soon as we learn of impending inclement weather. In the end, the superintendent makes the final call as to whether schools close for inclement weather. At APS we always try our very best to coordinate with outside agencies so that our decisions are not in vacuum and are in alignment with other districts and government offices.
It seems like a couple of weeks ago we were still having 70 degree days. The winter weather seems to have arrived. As we move into the winter, we are committed to keeping families informed in a timely manner.
Also,very soon, we will be sending out information about the APS Weather Wise Program, which is a new digital learning platform for students during inclement weather days. Stay tuned! This information will be coming out before our break.
As always, stay safe and warm.