ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta Public Schools have decided to make up for days missed due to weather cancellations by adding some time to days when students would already be in class.
The district will add 30 minutes to the end of each school day from Jan. 29-March 30. That means elementary schools will let out at 3 p.m., high schools will be dismissed at 4 p.m. and middle schools will be dismissed at 4:35 p.m. during that period.
Schools will not be operating according to the district-wide bell schedule during that time and parents should contact the individual school if they have questions about how schedules will be changed, the district said in a news release.
Before making a decision on how to make up the days lost to weather, schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen directed the district to gather information from parents, principals, students, staff and the community on the best way to make up the lost time.
A survey with six options was circulated and, by Sunday, 14,421 people had completed it. Option 5 — extending the school day by 30 minutes until the time was made up — was the most popular choice, the school system said.
"With each school cancellation, I grew more concerned about the significant loss of instructional time our students had suffered," said Carstarphen said. "Although Atlanta Public Schools has the flexibility and autonomy with operational decisions and is therefore not required by the state to make up days, we know that it’s important to identify possible options for our community to consider and weigh in on. Stakeholder feedback influenced our decision significantly."
Most recently, Atlanta schools, like most throughout the metro area, were shut down for three days last week when a winter storm dumped snow and ice across north Georgia. After icy precipitation hit roads late Tuesday and early Wednesday, temperatures, aided by strong wind chills, stayed below freezing for days. That meant roadways and bridges that had frozen over took much longer than usual to thaw.
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