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Gwinnett County Public Schools, Hebron Christian Academy Announce Winter Weather Plans

Students are scheduled to return to classes on Jan. 7, but cold weather may alter that schedule.

Winter weather has prompted the cancellation of classes at several metro area school systems. Credit: Kristi Reed
Winter weather has prompted the cancellation of classes at several metro area school systems. Credit: Kristi Reed
Originally posted on Jan. 7 at 12:35 p.m. Updated at 4 p.m.

Several metro school systems, including Gwinnett, have announced plans to close Tuesday, Jan. 7, due to the dangerously cold temperatures expected in the area. By 6 a.m. Tuesday morning -- the time when many Mill Creek and Dacula High School students would be about to head to the bus stops -- the temperatures are expected to be 8 degrees. The temperatures are not expected to be significantly warmer when the elementary and middle school routes are scheduled to run.

Nearby, Barrow County Schools announced that classes have been cancelled for Jan. 7. Atlanta Public Schools will also be closed. Other school systems closed tomorrow include Forsyth County, Cobb County, Hall County and Walton County.

At 2:42 p.m., Gwinnett County Public Schools announced plans to close. 

In an earlier 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."

In announcing the school system closing this afternoon, Quintana wrote, "Gwinnett County Public Schools will be closed Tuesday, January 7, due to the extremely cold temperatures expected overnight and concerns regarding safety and operational issues."

Hebron Christian Academy will also be closed. A statement posted on the school website read in part, "Due to predicted extreme cold and wind conditions, Hebron Christian Academy will not hold classes Tuesday, January 7, 2014."

All Hebron athletic practices are cancelled, but games will be held as scheduled.

Kimberly Gilmer Rockefeller-Reeves January 06, 2014 at 01:10 PM
They need to close the schools tomorrow. Kids at the bus stop could get frostbite or hypothermia. It would be a bad decision to have school open tomorrow. Also it would be courteous to know tonight instead of in the morning when parents have to make other arrangements.
Kristi Reed (Editor) January 06, 2014 at 01:14 PM
It would be nice to know tonight.
North Georgia Weather January 06, 2014 at 01:26 PM
It would be nice to know today... :-) There's a football game tonight! :-)) But seriously, there are several factors to consider. I know Gwinnett has newer schools than DeKalb so it's not as much of an issue, but many old schools can't be adequately heated once the temperature drops below a certain level, it's the lower design limit of a HVAC system. For many schools, it use to be around 20 degrees. With temperatures dropping into the single digits and not going much above 20 tomorrow, some schools will be cold regardless. Starting diesel engines at zero degrees can also be an issue. I'd be willing to bet, many buses will have a hard time starting in the morning. And what happens to those kids that are waiting at a bus stop and their bus doesn't show? It's a very dangerous situation. and since the roads aren't an issue, waiting until morning to make a decision makes no sense. It's not like they have to determine if the roads are safe because that won't factor into the equation in the morning. It all comes down to the cold and that isn't changing between now and then. Being prudent is the wise decision IMHO.
North Georgia Weather January 06, 2014 at 01:57 PM
Lake City Florida schools are closed tomorrow for the cold.
Kristi Reed (Editor) January 06, 2014 at 02:15 PM
They probably don't have heaters in Lake City, Fla.
Dacula Momma January 06, 2014 at 02:40 PM
Gwinnett County just posted on Facebook that school is canceled tomorrow
North Georgia Weather January 06, 2014 at 02:42 PM
Probably use heat pumps. I'm assuming they aren't water source heat pumps either.
North Georgia Weather January 06, 2014 at 02:45 PM
I just don't see any reason to wait to make a decision. Nothing is going to change weather-wise and temps during the school day will not go above 20 for the most part. The buses will have a heck of a time getting started in the morning... and like I said earlier, what do those kids do when their bus doesn't show?
Kristi Reed (Editor) January 06, 2014 at 02:53 PM
@Dacula Momma - You must have posted that as I was updating the story. I'm just glad they decided today instead of waiting until morning.
Hannahbelle January 06, 2014 at 03:11 PM
Thanks for keeping us informed Kristi..
Mitch January 06, 2014 at 03:13 PM
My stay at home wife is sending the kids to school anyway.
Kristi Reed (Editor) January 06, 2014 at 03:54 PM
My pleasure Hannahbelle. I hope everyone enjoys their day off from school, except of course Mitch's kids who will be hard at work ;)
yari January 07, 2014 at 02:00 PM
is their school tomorrow?
Mitch January 07, 2014 at 04:52 PM
yari - yes, their school is open tomorrow. I also predict your school will be open too.

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