The potential for icy conditions on county roadways forced the Douglas County School System to remain closed from Wednesday through Friday, following snowfall Tuesday and Wednesday and bitterly cold temperatures that hovered below freezing into Thursday.
Douglas County School System spokesperson Portia Lake, said in a statement sent out late Wednesday afternoon "dangerous icy roads and persistent freezing temperatures throughout Douglas County make it unsafe for our students and staff to travel safely to and from school."
As a result, all Douglas County Schools remained closed Thursday for all students and staff. Lake said in a statement late Thursday that Superintendent Trent North and bus drivers traveled throughout the county yesterday and 35 bus drivers were not able to safely complete their regular routes to school, prompting the school system to cancel classes for a third-straight day Friday.
Friday marks the seventh day Douglas County students have missed school due to weather related causes during the 2017-2018 school year, according to Lake.
According to Michelle Ruble, assistant superintendent of personnel and policy, the school system does not have a board policy regarding make-up days for students and staff. However, there is a state law (O.C.G.A 20-2-168) that allows school districts to miss up to four days of school.
Whether or not to make-up school days missed for any reason lies with the discretion of North and the Board of Education, said Ruble.
The state law which covers make-up days for missed school says:
"When the President of the United States proclaims a national emergency or when the Governor proclaims a state of emergency or when, because of emergency, disaster, act of God, civil disturbance, or a shortage of vital and critical material, supplies, or fuel, the continued operation of the public schools according to the definitions of school year, school month, or school day is impractical or impossible, then the state board shall have the power to authorize local boards of education to depart from a strict interpretation of these definitions, and such departure need not be uniform throughout the state."
Additionally, the law further provides, "that a local board may, without necessity of authorization from the state board, elect not to complete, as make-up days, up to four additional days otherwise needed which are the result of days when school was closed due to emergency, disaster, act of God, civil disturbance or shortage of vital or critical material, supplies, or fuel."
Douglas County was one of 83 counties under a state of emergency declared by Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday.