Inclement Weather / Emergency Closings and Delays

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    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 communications@fultonschools.org.

    NOTE: Parents and employees should assume that school is in session and operating on normal schedules unless the Fulton County School System website and social media carries information to the contrary.

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. 

     

    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. Sometimes 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.

    How is the decision shared with parents and FCS staff?

    Information will be shared via FCS social media, the FCS website, and through mass notification calling/email systems – presuming that weather conditions permit electric power for posting updates. The news media will also receive notifications. Employees will receive notifications and any expected actions to take through a message to their FCS email accounts.

    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.