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Troup County Schools explains its decision to release students late during severe weather

The district says all students made it home safe.

TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — Troup County Schools is explaining its decision Thursday to delay the dismissal of some of its students and have them shelter in place as severe weather moved through the county.

Students from Troup County elementary schools were released at their regular time of 2:30 p.m. before storms became severe in the area. Once officials noticed the storms were picking up, they decided to hold students from middle and high school till their normal dismissal time of 3:15 p.m.

The district said initially they were making plans based on reports that the storm was expected to hit their county between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. But right at 3 p.m., officials said the storm intensified fast, increasing the threat of higher winds and potential tornadoes.

As a result, the district decided to delay the dismissal of all their schools at 3:10 p.m. but realized that there were already buses of students on the road.

School officials ordered those buses to shelter in a safe location after receiving reports that a tornado warning went into effect. Students still at the school were also told to take shelter. 

Once the threat was clear, officials said the district began releasing students, and buses began transporting them home around 4 p.m. And all students made it safely home, the district said. 

Communities in south metro Atlanta are still picking up the pieces and looking toward recovery early Friday morning after multiple tornadoes swept through the day before and left behind a trail of significant damage.

While the National Weather Service has confirmed at least four tornadoes touched down - in communities such as Spalding, Troup and Meriwether counties - it has not yet confirmed how strong those tornadoes were.

Gov. Kemp spoke at a conference Friday and reported two fatalities, including a Georgia Department of Transportation employee responding to storm damage and the previously reported 5-year-old who died when a tree fell on the car. 

Troup County decided to close all schools in the aftermath on Friday, and the district is expected to make an additional decision about after-school activities by 12 p.m.

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