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Smooth return for Gwinnett schools

Despite the best efforts of more than 2,800 people who signed a petition on Thursday, school resumed in Gwinnett County on Friday.

The first day back to school in Gwinnett following Tuesday’s winter storm was smooth as district officials reported only one minor incident.

A Meadowcreek High bus became stuck because of an ice patch, and 20 students were moved to another bus. But overall the district fared well on Friday morning, Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

“Everything has gone fairly well,” Roach said. “Obviously we know there are some patches of ice out there today, but the information we had was that we should be able to hold school.”

A petition on change.org that counted 2,828 signatures was closed on Friday morning, but called for the district to “cancel school on Friday the 31st.”

“There are still many roads with black ice and ice covering them,” the petition stated. “Half of the students will not come to school because their parents do not think it is safe. How will the buses get to the neighborhoods with black ice on them. The state is still in state of emergency. The Governor does not want us on the roads. The parents do not need to be worried about their kids not knowing if they are hurt. We all know it is not safe.”

In Suwanee, Roberts Elementary Principal Dion Jones reported a smooth return as all buses were on time, roads were clear and attendance was normal.

“My custodial staff did an awesome job yesterday making sure the ice was cleared around the school,” Jones said. “Students arrived without issue which is always good to know.”

Schools are equipped with de-icing supplies, and local school administrators and custodians were notified on Thursday to check areas and salt sidewalks and other passage ways, including shaded areas in parking lots. Barricades were put in place in some parking lots to keep vehicles away from icy patches.

Roach praised the work of bus drivers, teachers and support staff on Tuesday when the storm arrived to get students home safe, and in most cases, on time.

The district expected some parents would keep their children home on Friday, or bring them to school late, but attendance figures weren’t immediately available late Friday morning. Typically, the district is alerted if a school has more than 10 percent of its enrollment absent.