GEMA was getting ready for possible impacts to Georgia.

Metro Atlanta school officials hope Florence won’t do what Irma did one year ago

As school systems in metro Atlanta watch the latest projections about Hurricane Florence, looming off the coast, many minds must be on the impact a similar storm one year ago had on classes.

By the time Irma passed over Georgia it had weakened from a Category 3 hurricane to a tropical storm. That tropical storm killed three Georgians, including a Sandy Springs man, and walloped the metro area, knocking down hundreds of trees and cutting off electricity to thousands of houses, and to buildings including schools.

Schools across the area closed on Monday, Sept. 11, in anticipation of the storm.

And schools stayed closed most of the week, as roads stayed blocked by downed trees and schoolhouses in Atlanta and especially DeKalb County remained without power. 

DeKalb schools finally reopened Friday, the last metro district to do so. DeKalb had more than 100,000 residents without power after Irma, and by Wednesday of that week there were still 32 schools in the dark. On Thursday afternoon, 20 roads in the county were still closed.

School districts took varying approaches to making up the instructional time students lost. City Schools Decatur opted not to make up all three of the days it lost. Atlanta Public Schools, which had power outages at 31 schools after Irma, extended the school day by 30 minutes in February and March, after more bad weather in the winter had caused more missed days. DeKalb County schools extended the school day by 20 minutes in October and had students attend class instead of being off on Election Day, Nov. 7  last year.