Fayette schools closing even earlier

With snow and ice piling up and cars sliding off roads, the Fayette County School System is releasing its high school drivers today at 1:30 p.m. ... and all other schools will release earlier as well.

Elementary schools will release at 1:35 p.m., middle schools at 2:15 and high school at 2:45, according to a Facebook post from the school system.

Previous coverage is below:
Fayette County schools will dismiss students 30 minutes early on Tuesday due to expected inclement weather. Classes for Wednesday have been cancelled.
The Fayette County School System at 10 a.m. Tuesday announced that students will be dismissed 30 minutes early today. The decision coincides with expected accumulations of snow and sleet associated with the winter storm warning which will continue into Wednesday morning.

School buses will begin transporting children home at the following times:

• Elementary, 1:55 p.m.

• Middle, 2:45 p.m.

• High, 3:15 p.m.

Elementary students who attend the After School Program will remain at school until their parents can pick them up. Parents are encouraged to arrive at their children’s school as quickly as possible.

Staff will be dismissed as soon as all students have left the school building.

School officials said Fayette schools will be closed Wednesday.

The forecast calls for two inches of snow and a half inch of sleet with temperatures not climbing above the freezing mark today and plummeting to near 20 degrees tonight.

Fayette County 268
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I drive Fayette County 447

At 8:11pm I parked and chocked my school bus after delivering a total of 110 Fayette County Students from 4 different bus routes. I transported them to their home in a safe manner under conditions that can only be described as treacherous, at best. Some of my high school students had been on my bus for 4 hours. I saw every vehicle in front of me except 1 collide into each other or loose control of their vehicle and end up in the ditch. State 85 was shut down by the collisions that took place directly in front of me. Hwy 138 was also paralyzed due to ice and packed snow on the roadway. My only hope to deliver my last 2 students was to safely negotiate Helmer Road back to Hwy 279. Anyone who has driven that route is well aware of the tricky right turn from Helmer onto Hwy 279 with the sharp incline at the stop sign. 4 of the vehicles in front of me failed to negotiate that turn. By utilyzing professional driving techniques and a bus load of prayers, I successgfully negotiated that turn. I then made it to New Hope to Hwy 92 and finally to Westbridge Road for my final delivery. I slid all over Westbridge Road going there as well as coming back. Morning Creek bridge - horrifying, both times I slid across. The danger that my students and I were placed in was inexcusable and could easily have been avoided with a dismissal time of 11:00am. Students would still have received credit for attending full day. There is a severe School Bus Driver shortage and has been for years. We have not received a raise in our pay in over 10 years. We also must pay for our insurance which is usually about $100/month. Big Deal? Yes... it is a big deal when one takes a moment to look at what we are asked to accomplish for a base pay of $800/month. The fact that we must now pay taxes on the monies that the county spends on our health care premium just adds insult to injury. I am angered that my student's safety and my own safety was not taken into account today.Someone is responsible for making the decision to keep them in school until the roads became so dangerous. Someone needs to be held accountable. And every parent that has a student that rides a Fayette County School bus needs to take the time to say thank you to your child's school bus driver - we do not get paid nearly what we deserve! We accepted a huge responsibility when we signed on to be a driver, but no one - including myself - signed up for the situation we were put in this evening. A very dangerous situation that could so easily have been avoided!
I have 2 more classes before I complete my degree in elementary education. I will most likely leave this area at that time- making the driver shortage a little more severe. Again - please take a moment to send a thank you to your student's school bus driver... we deserve to be appreciated after a day like today!
Cheryl Johnson Ward
Fayette County 447

suggarfoot
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It seems everyone

called time on the storm...too late, not just the schools. The storm was coming from the south, not the north, but the meteorologist should have known that and called time earlier.

I'm sorry you and the kids were caught in it. You did a good and dangerous job. I can only try imagine your feelings trapped on those roads with a bunch of little lives in your hands. Thank you

FayetteCo77
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Well Done

Very well written. Hopefully the powers that be will thank you for your service. One of the best things about Fayette County has always been the quality of the bus drivers, who truly care about their charges. The parents of this county appreciate you.

FayetteCo77
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Well Done

Very well written. Hopefully the powers that be will thank you for your service. One of the best things about Fayette County has always been the quality of the bus drivers, who truly care about their charges. The parents of this county appreciate you.

Husband and Fat...
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Thanks to all

Bus drivers, teachers, cafeteria worker, police, fire, ambulance, and govt worker who go the extra mile. And this is not for Tuesday, but every day. Tuesday was an anomaly. I'm sure some learned a lesson, but I'm not convinced the dismissal time was the entire culprit.

PTC Observer
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H&F - Dismissal Time

"but I'm not convinced the dismissal time was the entire culprit."

So, what other factors besides dismissal time do you see as complicit?

Weather forecasting? Well I think that was pretty good at least for our area. I got up Tuesday morning listened to the forecast, they said it was going to start snowing and sleeting at 11 am and I went to work. Then lo and behold that's exactly what happened, it started snowing at 11am. I started home at noon and didn't have a problem getting home.

Seems pretty easy to me to look out the window and make a decision based on what you see. Makes it even easier when you listen to the weather forecast at 11 am.

We're lucky no student or driver was killed or injured in this fiasco. No H&F, I think this is simply an abundance of bad judgment all around. If I had a student in school on Tuesday, I would have taken a vacation day and stayed home. Sometimes, you just have to prioritize what's important in your life. If I was the Superintendent I would have canceled school that morning, early.

Husband and Fat...
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PTCO, a couple of ideas

1. On snow days, keep all the helicopter moms and dads from driving to pick up their kids at school. Almost every kid could have walked or taken a bus keeping countless cars off the road

2. No high school drivers, except golf carts

3. Educate crossing guards better. Buses leave first. At Braelinn Elem. I saw cars backed up past the intersection of Robinson and Peachtree Parkway. Everything was stopped for a very long time.

4. If someone is afraid to drive, don't. Going 10 mph with a line a cars piled behind you is a sign of trouble.

5. I promise you won't run out of groceries. This snow will be gone tomorrow.

Fayette County 268
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teachers, cafeteria worker, police, fire, ambulance, and govt wo

With all due respect - teachers, cafeteria worker, police, fire, ambulance, and govt workers were not put in charge of a bus load or in my case 4 routes worth - 80 Teenagers- and instructed to deliver said teenagers to their homes in a safe and timely manner! Failure to dismiss school at an earlier time put their lives and the life of the bus driver in jeopardy! I happened to be the last to park this evening, however, every single bus driver that reported for their routes and also did the routes of the drivers that were stuck in traffic had their safety and the safety of the students put in their care in jeopardy! Someone needs to be held accountable for deciding that 30 minute early dismissal was "good enough". Precautions need to be put in place so that this never, ever occurs again! And the bus drivers need to be recognized for the dedication and care they exhibited under the worse possible weather conditions seen this winter.

Spyglass
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Thank you for your service.

I appreciate it.

ElVee
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Get out of the retirement home now and then....

I'm guessing some of the retired curmudgeons that have nothing better to do than post on here all day didn't get out of their rockers and go out driving in this mess.

If they had, they would have figured out that the roads were *frozen*, not wet. The snow that fell early melted, then refroze as temperatures dropped. Maybe they do things different back in New Jersey, but nobody I know can drive on ice. It took me 2.5 hours to get home from the airport, and I can tell you from personal experience that the roads were icy, not wet. Bridges were absolutely treacherous.

Because of the clusterfark at the county school office, there was a huge chain-reaction wreck on 85 north of Whitewater High involving several students. This was absolutely a blown call on the part of the superintendent and transportation department. They got complacent and put student lives in danger. School absolutely should have been waved off much earlier today, if not cancelled outright. Coweta County closed. Henry County closed before 11. Yet, there was our brave little school system, planning on keeping students until 3:15.

There's going to be absolute hell to pay. I want a crystal-clear explanation from Dr. Barrow about what went wrong, who was responsible and what will be done so that this NEVER happens again. No excuses, no weasel words. I want somebody to step up and take personal responsibility for this massive screw-up.

lettinguno
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A wee bit wet

Just got back from a run to the liquor store, grocery store and a fuel stop. Not all that bad driving. I worked on the ramp at the airport for most of my career and today would have been one of the better days I spent on an open air tug running bags. What will you do when it really gets cold and you get a real snow fall?

moelarrycurly
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Jersey??

Had to drive through 3 different times, never lived there.

Your 2.5 hour commute was due to every business in the 10 county area let everyone go home at the same time. And the schools let out at the same time as the businesses. Formula for gridlock. No road system anywhere could handle that load.

I never heard of a school office being the cause of a chain reaction wreck. Hope that was not the case. Last I checked, poor driving skills, drivers who are untrained in how to drive in hazardous conditions and poor road conditions are usually the cause of accidents.

Personal responsibility. Yup, that would be a real adult way to approach this. Personal responsibility. That, and realizing mother nature does not always do as we want her to do. If you are home, your family is home, then look on the bright side. You are not in Douglas County or in Buckhead right now.

Yes, retired curmudgeons galore have lived long enough to know not to go drive around in bad weather conditions. You got that right. Count your blessings and you will feel better.

Husband and Fat...
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Exactly, personal responsibility

The schools made the right call. Close early.

The parents, who all knew it was going to snow, and knew all after school activities were cancelled the night, before messed up by allowing their inexperienced kids drive to school. For goodness sake, is it that bad to take a bus twice a year?

I grew up in the cold climate and yes, I even had a small accident driving on ice. It happens. My parents didn't call for someone else to take the blame. We got the car fixed, and Dad provided some lessons.

I drove all around PTC today and didn't have one issue with the roads. It was the other scared drivers, idiots stopping unnecessarily, and then when stopped, pressing on the gas too hard and fish tailing. I would bet the accident at whitewater was a result of a student slamming on the brake with someone behind too close and on the phone. If I were the sheriff, I'd have each kid send in their phone bill to see if they were talking and driving.

Personal responsibility people.

PTC Observer
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ElVee

Wrong audience, I think you may need to call Dr. Barrow.

Good luck

moelarrycurly
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Paul Crawley WXIA tv reporting live on Hwy 74

South of 54. All wet, nothing more....he has seen golf carts all over the place.

G35 Dude
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MLC

I was out in this mess. If you think it was wet and nothing more then you obviously were not.

moelarrycurly
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G35

Obviously not. See, I try to stay home when I know the plows and sand trucks are trying to do their job. They didn't have a chance to even get started today. I do know others who were out, and they drove slow and made it home just fine. Sounds like you did, too.

G35 Dude
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MLC

You made a wise decision to stay home. I wish I had been given that option. And thank you yes I did make it home ok. That was after passing an accident, two cars in a ditch and watching a mini van doing about 25 hit an icy patch, fish tailing and almost going head on into the car in the other lane. Maybe you did have it rougher in your day. But would it kill you to admit that what these folks did yesterday is still worthy of a thank you?

Thanks to all of the bus drivers that had to navigate this with a bus load of kids and also the emergency personnel that also had to be out in this.

Spyglass
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It has gotten rough

Paul has changed his tune..he is freezing his arse off...stay safe

moelarrycurly
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I bet Paul

was not a happy camper today. Probably sent here to cover the 4PM meeting on the district voting and instead was told to stay outside on the side of the road to watch almost no traffic and a few golf carts drive by. 36 years of reporting and this was the primo gig today...poor guy. You stay safe, too.

PTC Observer
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MLC - How

How true,

He's a class act, a real professional, that deserves better.

KinderMom
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Caution…MLC

Clearly, you have not been out on the roads and you appear to lack an adequate understanding of fluid dynamics.

moelarrycurly
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Clearly

You do not pay attention, as spy is our resident expert on fluid dynamics.

Spyglass
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Fluids

Yes, i am better stocked now.

Will report back before dark.

Lake Peachtree looks strange for sure, a great opportunity for a person skilled in B&W photography.

lettinguno
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School closings

Whatta buncha wimps.....28 degrees is not cold, it's chilly. 2 inches of snow is a light dusting. Mommies are driving and picking up their kids so they don't have to walk a couple of blocks even in good weather.......Jeeeeezzzzz don't get me started on the wimping of America.

KinderMom
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Wussy Whining Parents? That's just precious.

The only wussing and whining I've seen or heard today is coming to us courtesy of MLC. If there's a question about what's safest for the kids, err on the side of caution.

moelarrycurly
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Caution from what?

Oh, wet roads.

moelarrycurly
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Litigious society Spy?

for waiting till later tonight to make the decision, based on the forecast at that time, which would be a lot more accurate than it is now? It was 60 degrees and sunny yesterday. The pavement is not frozen, whatever falls today will melt on contact if it is sleet. Water on the roads, oh my! I was just out on the roads. Nothing, nada. One inch of snow not only doesn't "accumulate", it melts from the heat of the pavement and the tire traffic. Wussy, whining parents are pushing this, that's all.

Snow Bunny
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I keep telling you that you

I keep telling you that you are right! Let's wait until later tonight when parents with small children have to try and figure out what to do with their kids & employers have to figure out what to do about the number of employees who will be calling in tomorrow morning and saying they won't be in today.. Why would we want to be considerate of the working parent and business owners?

Thanks to our wonderful elected officials in Washington (and that includes Mr. Obama), people can not afford to just take the day off..

WLVROCKS
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Blame the Government

When things fail to go your way... politically, financially, emotionally or spiritually, blame the government.

moelarrycurly
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9PM tonight you can listen

to Obummer blame everyone and everything in the world since things have failed to go his way. Except ObummerNoCare. He will brag about it's overwhelming success.

Then, with those keen leadership skills he honed while a kinky-haired youth, he will then threaten to run this country all by himself. For the next 3 years.

Me? I will be outside with a flashlight and my garden hose making an ice rink in the back yard that will be so fine that Tonya Harding would break your Nancy kneecaps to have a go at it.

AtHomeGym
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MLC & Ice Rink

Should you need some technical advice on the rink, give Dar a call--he seems to possess considerable background in that arena!

moelarrycurly
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AHG

Thanks! My younger siblings and myself used to play on one of these rinks I mention, after dark, for many, many winters. All lit by the back porch light. The parental units would do the last call on/off flicker of the light switch when it was time to come in. Lots of fun and lots of good, sound sleep after it was over.
Don't know about Dar, but I would guess he had some fun times, too, on a slippery rink.

PTC Observer
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MLC - You're

You're right about one thing, Mr. Obama's character will be on full display tonight. For those not blinded by the light, it should be more of the same blame game and dictatorial chest thumping. I am sure it will be a proud moment for those that drink the cool aid.

Can you spell L A M E D U C K?

moelarrycurly
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PTCO

Yes, I think I can. L A M E.

I wonder if he will make that chortling noise to himself when he makes a statement that he thinks is funny and is the only one in the room who think so. Almost half a decade of it, and he still does it to us (the collective U.S.) Yes, you more than nailed it. Lame.

Spyglass
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It's bothering you for sure

That is about all i can tell.

Low of 18 tonight, gonna be cold. It has dropped 2 degrees at my abode in the last hour, now 26.

It is sticking on my paved surfaces here....might be time to go carting and have some fun. :)

moelarrycurly
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If you go

Just watch out for those golf cart mothers...they get really upset when the path is wet, poor things.
Oh, the newest weather says precipitation ending by late this evening and partly sunny tomorrow. I'm sure they will have to close for Thursday, too, with that dire prediction. Have fun.

moelarrycurly
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Hey Spy...SNOW BLADE

Check this out:

http://youtu.be/nYhfEHmHmmY

or better yet, turn up the volume:

http://youtu.be/FiCqFfYNYl8

Spyglass
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Moe, had to make a Publix run

For WINE. Roads are slick as owl chit in spots, especially the Parkway south of 54, it is closed going north from 54.

Good stuff on the video, love me some blues/rockabilly.

moelarrycurly
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I'm going to make a run

just because I can.:) Thanks. I think it is closed due to the McIntosh moms swarming en mass and the city scrambling to lay down sand there at the same time. In the real world, you send the sand trucks out first, then you call off school after you get the road prepped. The logic is just too much for some to comprehend.

Spyglass
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spy reporting in

The PATHS are gonna be slicker than owl chit for the next 18 hours or so.

Just back from the lake, cool views.

moelarrycurly
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It's too cold

to go out on them even if they were dry, for me. Not much dock fixin' going on today, I bet.

Snow Bunny
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Just because it is suppose to

Just because it is suppose to be 34 degrees (2 degrees above freezing) at 4pm doesn't mean it will that way the entire day. You forget that elementary school begins at 7:40 before the sun officially rises! Buses start to pick up kids just after 6:30 while it is pitch black out and during some of the coldest temperatures of the day (Accuweather says it should be about 15) and begin dropping off students as early as 7;15.
Not all of our roads in Fayette County are in excellent shape and the district can not just give kids in one area the day off due to bad roads and not everyone. WSB had a real interesting story on how these decisions are made during the last break and it is not just the BOE who makes these decisions but rather representatives from several different agencies. They have to look at the ENTIRE picture not just what it will be at the end of the day!

moelarrycurly
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Like I said Snow Bunny

just close the schools till Thursday. Or springtime.

Snow Bunny
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isn't that what they did?

isn't that what they did? Close them until Thursday?

moelarrycurly
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No flies on you

Are there? In your honor, they are closed Thursday, too, and on Thursday they will announce they will close till spring. You silly wabbit.

Snow Bunny
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My honor? As a parent and a

My honor?

As a parent and a business owner, I appreciate the advance notice. While I have no kids at the elementary level, I have several employees who do and at least they now can plan for child care and I can plan on who will and will not be at work and how it will affect my business.

My question, do you have kids in the Fayette County School system?

moelarrycurly
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Twelve

and a half. But we call it twelve. I home school 'em all. Today's lesson is, how long can you stay outside in the snow before your feet are more wet than the inside of your mouth. Tomorrow's lesson is going to be how many snow melt crystals does it take to melt a puddle.

moelarrycurly
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Bizarre

These decision makers have already decided to close for tomorrow? Sure is telling what the priorities are for the education leaders in this county. It has nothing to do with safety, either.

Snow Bunny
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You are so right! Let's

You are so right! Let's wait until the last possible minute to cancel school so folks have to scramble and make last minute arrangements!

moelarrycurly
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Oh boo hoo

for scrambling. Cry me a river.

Spyglass
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I don't have a dog in this fight..anymore...

but in today's litigious society, I can see erring on the side of caution.

Not saying it's right, but it is what it is.