Rome City Schools and Floyd County Schools will remain open. Superintendents said they would have complied with Perdue's request if they were confident they had enough lead time to make sure parents had plans for child care.
Area school systems that will be closed include Polk County Schools, Bartow County Schools, Chattooga County Schools, Trion City Schools, Catoosa County Schools, Cartersville City Schools, Gordon County Schools, Calhoun City Schools, Walker County Schools and Chickamauga City Schools.
If all of Georgia's schools close, the governor estimated about 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel would be saved each day by keeping buses off the road.
The governor also said an undetermined amount of regular gasoline also would be saved by allowing teachers, other school staff members and some parents to stay home those days. Electricity also would be conserved by keeping the schools closed.
It's up to each school superintendent to decide whether to call off classes.
``If Georgians stick together, work together and conserve together we can weather whatever problems Rita brings our way with the least possible inconvenience,'' Perdue said.
As he did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Perdue asked the state's residents to limit nonessential travel and look for commute alternatives including telecommuting, car pooling and four-day work weeks.
He said if people reduce demand, ``we will have enough market power to hold prices down. All together, we can influence demand within our state.''
Tim Callahan, spokesman for the 61,000-member Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said he worried Perdue's announcement would only prompt panic-buying at the pumps in the days ahead.
``I wonder if it's going to create the type of panic that we saw a few weeks back that drove prices over $3,'' said Callahan, referring to the long gas lines and record-high prices that came in the days following Hurricane Katrina.