Frigid winter weather continued to make its presence felt early this week, disrupting school and travel in parts of Dawson County.
Classes were cancelled Jan. 8, 11 and 12, and released early on Jan. 7, as a result of below-freezing temperatures and ice-coated roads.
School Superintendent Keith Porter, who makes the final call on snow days, said the decision always comes down to the well-being of those traveling to school.
“First and foremost is the safety of our students and faculty,” Porter said. “One of the things that makes the decision difficult is the fact that our county is geographically so diverse.”
Porter said areas on the county’s north end received more snow last week, “which ended up lasting much longer than on the south end of the county.”
“We’ve got some areas where this ice is just going to stay with us for a while,” he added.
In the meantime, just a few days after returning from Christmas break, many local students have enjoyed additional time off and icy stomping grounds.
Tyler Bearden, 13, and Blase Chester, 14, set out Jan. 8 in search of the perfect slope on which to sled.
The young men found a good hill in front of the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.
“We get going pretty fast on this one,” said Bearden, who hiked up the steep grade with a makeshift sled.
“This is the best hill we’ve found so far,” he said.
Travis Miller, 14, walked home from school after the Jan. 7 early-release day.
Miller said he looked forward to the time off.
“I’m going to go back to my house, relax, maybe get some sleep, get rested up for next week,” he said.
Miller said snow is a rare treat for locals.
“Snow hardly ever comes, so when it comes everyone’s happy,” he said. “They finally get to play in the snow. They get to hang out and get out of school.”
Nathan Smith, 14, said locals indeed look forward to snow days.
“People don’t get snow very often in Georgia,” he said. “They’re not used to it. That’s why people are happy when it snows. That’s why snow days are so great.”
Students and faculty of the Dawson County school system weren’t the only ones affected by the winter weather.
Dawson County courts were delayed Jan. 8.
County parks closed early Jan. 8, and all games and activities scheduled for Jan. 8-9 were cancelled.
Many extracurricular school activities were cancelled or rescheduled Jan. 7-8 as well.
Porter said there are several slots built into the district’s schedule that anticipate snow days.
Whether the recent days off will affect the rest of the academic year depends on the weather the remainder of winter, Porter said.