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Schools, county government making cold weather preps

1/6/2014, 2 p.m.
After a windy and cold morning that brought flurries to much of metro Atlanta and north Georgia and with the ...
With severe cold forecast for Tuesday morning, officials are deciding whether to open DeKalb schools as scheduled.

After a windy and cold morning that brought flurries to much of metro Atlanta and north Georgia and with the area bracing for even colder temperatures overnight into Tuesday, DeKalb school officials are trying to decide whether to open schools Tuesday morning as scheduled.

Forecasts say temperatures will hang in the 20s before they dive to about 6 degrees Tuesday morning, the coldest metro Atlanta has seen in about 18 years.The wind chill will make it feel as low as -13 in metro Atlanta, and in some isolated parts of north Georgia as low as -30.

Several schools have decided to close for Tuesday in preparation for potentially dangerous temperatures, including Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb County, Forsyth County and Coweta County.

Superintendent Michael Thurmond met with the District’s Inclement Weather Advisory Team January 4 and 5, 2014 to review inclement weather preparation and protocol.

“District personnel will continue to monitor local weather forecasts and communicate with the National Weather Service as we approach the scheduled opening of classes on Tuesday, January 7,” Spokesman Quinn Hudson said Monday in a news release.

Principals and other school staff inspected all school buildings on Sunday, January 5, to ensure that water and heating systems are operational. In addition, the District will follow established Inclement Weather Protocol.

The Transportation Department will provide the following support:

  • Schedule all transportation staff to report on Monday, January 6, to ensure that school buses are operational. Mechanics will be on standby to support this process.
  • Check the condition of the roads for safe travel beginning at 3:00 a.m on January 6.
  • Contact neighboring school districts and provide status updates to school administrators.

The Facilities Management Department will provide the following support:

  • Monitor all building heating systems and associated equipment via our direct digital control (DDC) software program. This program allows our department to remotely monitor and control time schedules, setpoints, controllers, trend logs and alarms related to our systems.
  • Deploy all available skill tradesmen (i.e. HVAC technicians, plumbers, electricians, grounds staff, etc.) to conduct on site assessments of key building systems and grounds in an effort to mitigate any identified concerns prior to the return of students and staff.
  • Deploy pre-qualified contractors to assist with emergency heating and plumbing repairs as needed.

By 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday, January, 7, senior staff representing school leadership, transportation, food service and public safety, in consultation with the National Weather Service will report findings and recommendations to the Superintendent.

No later than 5:30 a.m., the Superintendent will make a final decision to open schools as scheduled, delay the opening or cancel classes for the day.

The decision will be communicated to members of the Board of Education, parents, the public and the local media by email, phone tree calls, the District website, PDS-TV24, District website, social media channels and the DCSD 1200 line.

As the schools prepare for severe weather, Interim CEO Lee May and DeKalb Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) officials are encouraging all DeKalb residents and stakeholders to sign up for the county’s high-speed notification system, CodeRED.

The emergency notification system has the ability to quickly deliver time-sensitive messages via voice, email, and text to targeted areas or the county during emergency situations or disasters.

“If we need to notify the public about public safety hazards such as weather, CodeRED is one of the tools we will use to reach people directly,” said Interim CEO May.

To sign up for CodeRED, residents and businesses should visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov and follow the link to the CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment page. Those without internet access should call DeKalb Emergency Management at 770.270.0413, Monday – Friday, 8-5 p.m. to register via phone.

Required information includes; First and last name, physical street address, and primary phone number. To receive weather warnings, subscribers should be sure to select the Severe Weather Warning link.

Businesses are encouraged to register for CodeRED, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number.