COVINGTON -- Weather forecasters are predicting wintry weather possibly starting tonight and carrying into Monday and Tuesday, which has area students -- and even some teachers -- hoping for the first snow day of the school year this week.
Anytime weather conditions could become unsafe for students and staff traveling to schools in buses and on the road in general, area school transportation departments monitor the weather forecasts and keep in regular contact with law enforcement agencies and the National Weather Service to check on roadway conditions.
"Our primary concern is the safety of our students and employees," said Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations at NCSS. "When the superintendent makes the decision to close or delay school, it's because the conditions are just too hazardous to jeopardize the safety of the 19,000-plus students and approximately 3,000 employees who will be out on the roadways (in Newton County)."
The same is true for Rockdale County Public Schools, which serves about 16,000 students.
Local school officials say the school superintendent will make a decision to delay or close schools no later than 5:30 a.m. in Rockdale County and 6 a.m. in Newton County.
"Hazardous road conditions are the main reason we would cancel or delay school," Davis-Viniard said. "It's got to be safe for the buses. Because they leave so early in the morning when temperatures are low, ice and sleet are a major concern. We also have many employees, especially in the school food service department, who come in before 7 a.m., and we want to make sure it's safe for them when they are traveling."
Once a decision is made, local system employees will begin notifying parents and staff through automated phone systems; major television stations like ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC; metro-Atlanta radio stations like Star 94 and WSB Radio; and school system websites, www.newtoncountyschools.org and www.rockdale.k12.ga.us.
Makeup days, if any, generally are determined at a later date.