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Cobb Schools Make Decision on Friday Classes

Icy conditions persist all over the county.

Cobb Schools Make Decision on Friday Classes
The results of Tuesday's snowy and icy weather has prompted the cancellation of classes and activities in the Cobb County School District for a third full day.

Cobb County Schools will be closed on Friday, Jan. 31 after being off on Wednesday and Thursday, too. Staff should report as conditions allow on Friday

In addition, Thursday night's Board of Education meeting has been postponed until Feb 3rd.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa sent a message to school district stakeholders with regards to Tuesday's decision to close school early. It reads as follows:

As of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, all Cobb County students and staff are home safely following the weather ordeal that began Tuesday morning. For that, we are truly grateful. I am immensely thankful for the heroic efforts of our staff and, especially, our bus drivers, who went far beyond their routine responsibilities to ensure the safety of students. Our school-based staff supervised more than 320 students who stayed overnight in our schools and were well-cared for. In all, more than 300 staff members and about 20 relatives and stranded motorists used our schools for shelter overnight.

I also want to thank the Cobb County Police Department, the National Guard, Gov. Deal’s office, and all of the public safety agencies in Cobb County that assisted us today in getting buses off the roads and students safely home. Their help was critical and much appreciated.

With the extraordinary conditions that were present Tuesday afternoon, it is remarkable that our drivers were able to transport more than 80,000 students home safely, and that the remaining students would either be picked up by their parents, or be safe, warm, and accounted for at schools. A variety of factors collided Tuesday afternoon to create a “perfect storm” of chaos, and it is a testament to the quality of our staff that their talents shone brightest during this extreme challenge. I am very proud of their efforts.

We plan to carefully assess this situation, how it occurred, and how we may have handled it better. At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, based on a revised forecast that showed Cobb County directly in the storm’s path, I made the decision to dismiss schools two hours early. We felt good about that decision at the time, and felt it still would give us ample time to transport all students before conditions became serious. Clearly, it was not enough. We did not foresee the mass of traffic that would simultaneously overwhelm the roads. We did not foresee the difficulties some buses would encounter traversing roads that rapidly became sheets of ice.

I am sorry that Cobb County parents had to endure a day like Tuesday. We will learn from this experience and take what steps we can to prevent it from happening again. While the adversity of this event brought out the best in our staff, it did not reflect well on our ability to predict where inclement weather would occur, when it would occur, and the paralyzing impact it would have on our community. In the end, I am thankful that all of our students are safe and accounted for, I am proud of how a wide array of school district staff rose to meet this challenge, and I look forward to seeing all of them, students and staff, back in school very soon.

Michael Hinojosa

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