Emergency Weather – What’s The Plan?

Given the escalation of the severity of the weather, we will implement an early dismissal of students and staff today. Also, all extracurricular activities for this evening and tomorrow morning will be cancelled.

Dismissal Schedule:
12:00 pm – Elementary Schools
12:45 pm – High Schools
1:30 pm – Middle Schools

DeKalb County Schools’ primary concern is the safety of all students and employees-those who ride buses, those who walk, and those who are driven or drive their own cars to school. When severe weather creates hazardous conditions in DeKalb County, regular school scheduling may be altered or suspended.

Making Decisions

The final decision for closing schools is made by the Superintendent. The Superintendent consults with an emergency weather team, and is in contact overnight with DeKalb County security specialists (the National Weather Service, the DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County Emergency Management, the Georgia State Patrol, and others) who monitor reports of existing weather hazards.

The decision regarding school operations is made prior to 5:00 a.m. and sent through all communications channels. This information is normally broadcast on local radio and television stations by 6:15 a.m. The Communications department informs parents, students, employees and other stakeholders through a variety of channels including:

  • Local news media
  • District website
  • Emails
  • Calling Posts
  • District Mobile App
  • Social Media

Parents are encouraged to monitor local news reports or to contact the local school to find out whether the District has closed in the event of severe weather.

17 responses to “Emergency Weather – What’s The Plan?

  1. Noon dismissal for elementary with 21 minutes notice. Not smart. Should have canceled school last night.

  2. Kate Eastburn

    So I scrambled to get to the kids like everyone else. What a cluster it was at the elementary school and buses were blocked in by selfish drivers. Once again, our leadership failed to make a clear decision in a timely manner. Next time, I will call the snow days for my kids and decide what is best and safest.

  3. I received a message on my cell phone that Chamblee High School was dismissing students at 12:45pm. I received the message 20 minutes before dismissal and they said school was being dismissed Thursday (wrong day). How can we expect DeKalb to get anything right if they don’t know what day it is? So typical.
    School was not in session for 4 days due to a non-weather issue (Hurricane that was over after day 2) yet when a real weather issue occurs administration makes the brilliant decision to keep schools open. Not happy-it took me two hours to drive from Chamblee to Tucker. They definitely should have canceled school last night. So happy my son will be graduating next year and be finished with this inept system.

  4. Concerned Stakeholder

    DeKalb County Principals received 30 minute notice prior to early dismissal. This is absolutely ridiculous!! Bus drivers were told this morning to not return home after their morning routes and go back to their afternoon pick up locations. Buses were at schools as early as 9:00am, but school adminstartors were not modified until 11:30am that the district would begin releasing elementary students at noon. Let’s take into account the following:

    1. Some students had not received lunch at this time
    2. Parents are at work
    3. 30 minutes to plan a smooth dismissal
    4. Calling parents and making them aware the school was closing early
    5. Staff members that have children at schools
    6. Many other districts made this call at least 2 hours before dismissal

    Again, yet another bad call from the Superintendent!!

  5. dsw2contributor

    Laptop Boy and Concerned Stakeholder are correct; DCSD Principals only received 30 minutes — OR LESS– warning that dismissal was imminent.

    Stan, I’m hearing some stories today that are really bizarre — stuff like parents resorting to driving around to look for the broken down and/or lost buses that their children were stuck on.

  6. dsw2contributor

    Stan, I wish you had left your original blog posting up.

    I subscribe to your blog, so I have an email that shows at 10:52 AM you posted the blog entry I’ll quote below. You posted that a mere hour and 8 minutes prior to the elementary school dismissal.

    While it’s great you were able to update the post with the latest information, I also think it is important that the community be told that not even a board member was aware that early dismissal was going to happen an hour and eight minutes prior to it happening!

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    DeKalb County Schools’ primary concern is the safety of all students and employees-those who ride buses, those who walk, and those who are driven or drive their own cars to school. When severe weather creates hazardous conditions in DeKalb County, regular school scheduling may be altered or suspended.

    Making Decisions

    The final decision for closing schools is made by the Superintendent. The Superintendent consults with an emergency weather team, and is in contact overnight with DeKalb County security specialists (the National Weather Service, the DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County Emergency Management, the Georgia State Patrol, and others) who monitor reports of existing weather hazards.

    The decision regarding school operations is made prior to 5:00 a.m. and sent through all communications channels. This information is normally broadcast on local radio and television stations by 6:15 a.m. The Communications department informs parents, students, employees and other stakeholders through a variety of channels including:

    Local news media
    District website
    Emails
    Calling Posts
    District Mobile App
    Social Media

    Parents are encouraged to monitor local news reports or to contact the local school to find out whether the District has closed in the event of severe weather.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-

  7. The Superintendent made the decision at 11:30.

  8. Just Wondering

    By 11:30, it had been snowing (big flakes) for at least an hour and a half. We were told school was dismissing at 12:45. But the kids were there until 1:30 because not all of the buses were there at 12:45. So, we sat while traffic got worse and road conditions got worse. Parents just kept coming and they made all-calls over the PA for an hour. WHY can’t we get this right, EVER?

  9. Can this lack of planning in making weather-based decisions be a topic of discussion at your next work session? In the past, these decisions were made by 10-10:30 for an early release. All elementary schools found out at 11:30 that they were to dismiss at 12:00. Thankfully, our administrators decided to start lunch early so that all students would be fed if/when a decision was made. Not every school had that luxury. In those 30 minutes all daycares and car riders had to be called- only to find out a number of daycares weren’t picking up because of the weather and we now need to call parents and find out how to send their child home. There are parents working more than an hour from the school and we expect them to get their kids with less than 30 minutes notice? The DCSD Newsflash went out after 12 and the FB post went out a few minutes before 12-what’s the point of mass communication if it’s not timely? Lastly, why were elementary teachers made to stay at work until 2? Wouldn’t it make more sense to release teachers once their students have left the building and allow them to get home, pick up their children, etc… at staggered times instead of 10,000 employees all leaving at 2?

  10. The Superintendent and the board chair set the agenda. I️ can’t imagine why they made the decision they did. I️ doubt most parents had more than 15 minutes warning before their elementary students were let out of school. I’m petrified to think of how many little boys and girls came home to empty houses.

  11. All schools and offices in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will be open, as normally scheduled, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.

  12. Mr Jester,
    Since there was a question in this section about the BOE discussing the need for a plan related to schools being dismissed in the case of emergencies, I am posting this here. One of the most important things that a school system can do,is hiring the people who will work with our children. On December 11, 2017 there was another article in the AJC about a hiring mistake in the our school system. I am not posting this to discuss the merits of the decision. I am doing this to express a concern that perhaps a decision needs to be made about a person to head our HR Department. This seems like a very important job. It has not been staffed in over a year.
    It is hard to imagine that in an entire year our system was not able to find one person qualified to head our HR Department. It will soon be time to hire for the new school year. Hopefully a well qualified person can be hired before then.

    DeKalb mistakenly rehires teacher who threatened students with deportation

    http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-mistakenly-rehires-teacher-forced-out-for-deportation-threats/izRlEmAAVMLT9UG4dMZ81H/

    http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-applicants-face-more-scrutiny-selection-process/soSbKYbfahQWnBHJNTlWVP/

    http://www.myajc.com/news/local-education/does-dekalb-schools-have-hiring-problem/lnH2ltClitSMeIXviFpT2N/

  13. Joy, the current posting for a Chief Human Capital Officer has a posting date of June 13, 2017.

    But Stan posted on March 1, 2017, that the former Chief Human Capital Officer has been reassigned. So did it take 3 months just to post the job opening? I guess that speaks volumes about the expertise, or lack thereof, in HR.

    I share your concern. But I’m not sure what the BOE can do about it. They authorized money for another national search (remember the previous one brought us Dr. Brown).

    Perhaps DCSD is snake bit. Articles like the ones you linked to are easily accessible by any potential job applicant, and it may scare them off. But we can hope…..

  14. Wow, the article about DCSD hiring the “forced to resign teacher” back as a sub made the front page of the AJC!

    Even better/worse, this teacher was hired as a sub for the DSA teacher who was forced to leave because he showed an inappropriate video to his students.

    One would think that great caution would be used in choosing the DSA replacement, since that issue brought a lot of negative publicity to DCSD. It’s hard to believe that no one in HCM recognized that they were placing the “forced to resign teacher” in a high profile sub job.

    What makes the headlines are the hiring mistakes. What worries me more is whether personnel records for our current teachers are being updated correctly. The long-term lack of a Chief Human Capital Officer affects much more than hiring.

  15. DSW2Contributor

    Anonymous, I don’t believe that hiring the “forced to resign teacher” to sub at DSA was a HR mistake.

    HR’s mistake was getting caught…

  16. DSW2Contributor

    Stan, The 12/12 AJC article “Teacher DeKalb ousted came right back as substitute” (http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/teacher-dekalb-ousted-came-right-back-substitute/AGUT1IokN6EltsgElQ2eTJ/) includes these lines:

    “In November, the district had about 9,700 teacher absences for 17 school days. About 6,200, or 60 percent, of those were filled by substitutes.”

    Three observations:

    (1) 40% of the time teachers are absent, DCSD is unable to provide substitutes.

    (2) Principals have been saying that they are unable to get any substitutes and have stopped requesting them for short term absences. The numbers in the AJC article seem to confirm what I’ve been hearing — available subs are first used to cover long term absences (maternity leave, really serious illnesses, FLMA leave, etc.)

    (3) In just one 17 day period in November, there were 3880 teacher absences that were not covered by substitutes…. if the absences were spread out evenly over the 17 days, there would have been 228 teachers out each day without any sub coverage. I hope you view that as unacceptable.

    And finally a question: could the State of Georgia consider the lack of subs to be fraud? My thinking is that the State provides funding to DCSD to provide teachers and specific class sizes…DCSD takes the money but does not deliver the teachers and/or required class sizes.

  17. DSW2Contributor, The board and administration are considering hiring what they call STAR substitutes. They are full time substitutes at every school and full time employees of the school district. If, for some reason, no subs are needed that day at that school, they work at the front office or at the direction of the principal.