Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Close to 100,000 tailgaters and fans are expected to flood Columbia ahead of the USC-Texas A&M game Thursday.
Gametime isn't until 6 p.m. but some schools are taking a precaution and dismissing early to make sure students and buses make it to their destination before the heavy traffic begins.
Karen York with Richland School District One says six schools will cut their school day short, impacting more than 2,000 students.
"We want to make sure our students are safe and sound." York says.
The affected schools are Hand Middle, South Kilbourne Elementary, Meadowfield Elementary, Rosewood Elementary, AC Moore Elementary, and Dreher High.
"Getting them through the traffic before the real traffic begins was the best thing to do," York says.
Heathwood Hall is taking a similar approach by shutting down early. Sally McKay, a spokesperson for the school, says they learned their lesson last year.
"Trying to cut across Bluff Road as we have to do to get out of Heathwood Hall, that took some time," she said.
Lance Corporal David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says they will begin patrolling around 1 p.m.
"It creates a lot of traffic in a little area pretty fast. ">
"You are going to have an influx in traffic because you are going to have people leaving work, and also 100,000 plus guests who are congregating at Williams-Brice."
His advice to drivers is to use Interstate 77 onto Shop Road and Bluff Road to avoid potential gridlock in the city.
Richland One Early Dismissal statement:
Due to the anticipation of heavy traffic and street closings caused by the USC football game, and the desire to keep all of our students safe, all Hand students will be dismissed at 1:30pm this Thursday, August 28th. This includes ALL HAND STUDENTS. Buses will be here at 1:30pm to take students home. Car riders and walkers will also be dismissed at 1:30pm. In addition, all Dreher students are being released at 12:45pm, and South Kilbourne, Meadowfield, Rosewood, and AC Moore students are being released at noon.