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Closings cram tests into 1 day
Weather causes tight final exam schedule
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View a full list of testing schedules and event listings for Hall County online.

Cramming for final exams will take on a new meaning today for Hall County and Gainesville students.

After being closed Thursday because of winter weather, the school systems have decided to cram exams that were scheduled for Thursday and today into just one day.

Teachers in Hall County are revising and shortening exams before giving them to students today, said Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for the system. Testing schedules for each school are listed online.

"If the exams were longer, they might cut them back to 50 minutes," Barron said.

Barron said school leaders didn't want students to wait two weeks to complete their exams. Winter break for Hall and Gainesville schools begins Monday.

For students who have a sick day today, schools will reserve Jan. 4, 5 and 6 for makeup days, she added.

And as a result, report cards and progress reports will be sent home Jan. 7 rather than the original date, Jan. 6.

Testing will also wrap up at Gainesville High School today. Students will be tested during their regularly scheduled class times, Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

Both systems decided to close their doors Thursday after a mixture of rain, sleet and freezing rain began falling Wednesday night.

Dyer said the school district goes through several steps before deciding to close or delay a school because of foul weather.

It begins with a drive, she said.

The superintendent and her decision-making team, including Gainesville Schools Transportation Director Jerry Castleberry, hit the streets at 3:30 a.m. They weigh factors such as ice and drifting, and also consult with other districts.

Superintendents must make a decision before 5:30 a.m. before the school buses begin their routes, Dyer said.

Originally, Hall and Gainesville decided to set a two-hour delay, but a dip in temperatures made them reconsider.

"The forecast said there was a warming trend, so we thought two hours would warm things up. But by 7:30 a.m. the temperature had not risen, it had gone down a degree or two. So we decided to make the call," Dyer said.

Though some parents complained the choice was "last minute," Dyer said it was a difficult case to judge.

"Sometimes it's a timing thing. If it begins to snow or sleet before midnight and the forecast for the next day is set, those are the easier ones," she said, adding that schools can be delayed or closed at an earlier time.

Along with acknowledging safety, Dyer said she also considers potential impacts to employees and employers.

"If we had called off school last night and if it was 45 degrees by 9 a.m. we would have had parents that missed (Thursday's) work to stay home with children and employers would view it negatively."

Georgia school districts can have up to four snow days each year. Any more than that and they have to make up those extra days.


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