Gwinnett County Public Schools issued the following statement Monday, Jan. 7, on Facebook:
Due to the extremely cold temperatures expected overnight and concerns regarding safety and operational issues, Gwinnett County Public Schools will be closed Tuesday, January 7.
Spokesperson Sloan Roach also said that 12-month staff should report.
Updated, 2:40 p.m.
As of 2:40 p.m., Gwinnett County Public Schools have not announced plans to close.
In an email to Dacula Patch, Jorge Quintana, GCPS Director of Media Relations, explained school officials have been working today to make sure facilities have appropriate heat and that buses will be able to run.
"Extreme cold can affect diesel engines, especially after the buses have been sitting over the break. In addition, we will continue to gather information from public safety agencies and weather services regarding the temperature and weather-related issues," he added. "All of these factors will be taken into consideration when making the decision on whether or not to hold school."
Quintana said the decision could be made any time between now and 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Updated 12:43 p.m.: Walton and Forsyth county systems have announced that they will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Still no word from Gwinnett.
Updated 8:32 a.m.
The extreme weather conditions in Suwanee and Gwinnett County also could affect the planned resumption of classes Tuesday (Jan. 7) for Gwinnett County Public Schools.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory that warns of severe conditions Monday and into Tuesday.
The statement warns of:
- rain changing to snow with some brief sleet;
- slick roadways due to snow accumulations and black ice;
- frostbite and hypothermia are possible.
The school system cancellation policy (posted under Safety and Security on the website) for weather reads in part:
GCPS schools and facilities may close in the event of hazardous weather or other emergencies which present threats to the safety of students, staff, or school property.
The superintendent makes the decision about school closing based on a cross-divisional and cross-agency effort, with information from public safety officials, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Gwinnett County officials, and the state Department of Transportation. In addition, when inclement weather is an issue, members of the GCPS Facilities and Operations team head out as early as 3:30 or 4 a.m. to drive roads around the county and assess road conditions. The school system’s Transportation staff ensures that buses are operable. (Extreme cold can cause operational problems for diesel buses.) Facilities are checked in the early hours, and GCPS works with power providers, as needed. Local school principals gather information for the leadership team about specific school conditions.
Note: The headline on this article was changed from the original version.
-- Patch will have updates on possible school closings and weather conditions.