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Inclement Weather / Emergency Closings and Delays
In an effort to keep our Fulton Schools families and employees prepared and safe during forecasted and unexpected weather events, the FCS Communications Department has created this page to help gather important information and resources. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents and employees should ALWAYS assume school is OPEN and operating on normal schedules unless the FCS website/social media explicitly states a closure or change in schedule. (Beware of FAKE FCS social media accounts!)
Fulton County Schools are open BY DEFAULT and will likely NOT make announcements saying we are open.
We will ALWAYS announce if we are closing or having a change in schedule BEFORE 5:30 a.m.
If it is after 5:30 a.m. and you have not heard or seen any messages from us, WE ARE OPENING AS USUAL.
Closing/Delay of School Due to Weather or Other Emergencies
Parents and employees often have questions about how decisions are made to close school due to inclement weather and other emergencies. Below are frequently asked questions and their answers.
Where can I find official emergency announcements?
- The first, best, and most reliable place to find district-wide emergency announcements is on the FCS Website Homepage and/or on your school's homepage. Most closing announcements are placed here before any other outlet - presuming that weather conditions permit electric power for posting updates.
- You will also find information on all our social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter/X, and Instagram. Sadly, misinformation on the internet -- either well-meaning or intentionally false -- causes confusion when official details are scarce or delayed. Always verify any reported or rumored school closing by checking the district website before sharing bad info.
- We will often (but not always) send messages directly to parents by email, text and/or phone messages, depending on the nature and timing of the emergency. Please make sure to update your contact information in your Infinite Campus Parent Portal or check with the data clerk at your school's front office for assistance with these updates. FCS employees will receive notifications and any expected actions to take through a message to their FCS email accounts.
- The local news media will also receive notifications, but always verify their reports by checking the FCS website.
- Finally, please consider downloading the FCS Mobile App for Apple or Android to get updates and messages directly to your mobile devices.
Who is the Emergency Response Team?
Fulton County Schools has an Emergency Response Team that comes together during high-impact situations where schools or the district needs emergency management, including inclement weather situations and other school-level or district-level emergencies. The Emergency Response Team has members of Transportation, Safety & Security, Facilities, Maintenance, Academics, Communications, School Nutrition departments and others to provide a cross-functional view of any situation that could possibly close or delay school. In situations where inclement weather may impact school operations, the team meets several times a day, until the event/weather threat is over, to review forecasts and current conditions and to discuss any new information. The team keeps the Superintendent informed, and when needed, makes a recommendation about school closures/delays to the Superintendent for review. The Superintendent makes the final decision.
Where does the Emergency Response Team get its information?
For weather-related situations, the team begins monitoring information from the National Weather Service, the Georgia Department of Transportation and other local emergency agencies as early as possible when closing/delaying school is a possibility. The school system’s Transportation Department also begins testing road conditions on our bus routes. Careful consideration is given to the most dangerous bus routes in the district. So, even if it looks clear on one street, dangerous conditions may exist in other parts of our county. In other emergency situations, FCS receives information by maintaining continuous contact with emergency response agencies, safety and transportation departments within city governments/municipalities, and other civic/government leaders in the areas impacted.
What factors are considered when making the decision to close school?
In situations involving inclement weather or other safety issues, the well-being of all children is the primary concern in making the decision to close school. In deciding whether children will be safe, the district looks at the following factors:
- Information on general road conditions from the FCS Transportation Department and from law enforcement, state departments (such as Georgia DOT) and emergency agencies, including whether roads are hazardous or difficult to travel;
- Time snow or ice starts and the amount (during winter season);
- Weather forecasts;
- Specific-area road conditions, such as downed power lines, flooding, tree debris or other conditions that make travel unsafe
- Building conditions, such as whether schools have power and heat/cooling;
- Parking lot conditions;
- Temperature and wind-chill; and
- The ability or feasibility of any diesel-powered school buses being able to operate at extremely cold temperatures (at extremely low temperatures, diesel does not burn efficiently and buses may not start).
Who makes the decision?
The Superintendent is responsible for the final decision based on the above factors and recommendations from district staff. With the advice of the district’s Emergency Response Team and other emergency management agencies, the Superintendent will make a timely decision whether to close schools.
When is the decision made?
The decision is made as early as possible so that parents will have as much time as possible for planning childcare arrangements. A wait-and-see approach is sometimes necessary due to changing information or shifting weather patterns, but in those situations, a decision will be made and communicated no later than 5:30 a.m. Occasionally inclement weather or other emergencies may force school closings during the school day, so parents should be prepared with a childcare plan should that happen.
What if school closes during the day?
Parents should make sure that their child’s teacher has a written explanation on file of what their student should do in the event that 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 are on file. School staff cannot accept phoned-in directions.
GA Severe Weather Preparedness Week
This year (2023), Georgia will recognize the week of February 6 - 10 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Severe weather is no stranger to the state. The past few years have brought a number of higher-impact severe weather events to the region. You can learn more about this on the National Weather Service website. Click on the images below for more helpful tips and information or download a text reader-friendly version in PDF format.
DAY 1 - SAFETY
Monday, February 6, 2023
DAY 2 - THUNDERSTORMS
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
DAY 3 - TORNADOES
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
DAY 4 - LIGHTNING
Thursday, February 9, 2023
DAY 5 - FLOODS
Friday, February 10, 2023