Fairfax County Schools to Close March 1 for Super Tuesday

The+Presidential+Primary+race+is+coming+to+Virginia+and+Fairfax+County+on+March+1.+The+polls+will+be+open+6+a.m.+to+7+p.m.

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County

The Presidential Primary race is coming to Virginia and Fairfax County on March 1. The polls will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cassie Reis, Staff Writer

In light of historic turnouts in primaries across the country in the past few weeks, it is anticipated that voter turnout in Fairfax County will likewise result in historic numbers of voters. A total of 167 Fairfax County Public Schools buildings are used as polling sites, 124 of which are elementary schools with very limited parking and restricted access in and around buildings.

In all past presidential primaries, FCPS has remained open. However, after reevaluating the decision to remain open next Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the school board has voted to close schools due to extremely limited parking and limited access in and around buildings. According to FCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza, “Record voter turnouts in New Hampshire and Iowa, and anticipation of an historic voter turnout from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, lead us to believe that there could be significant logistical issues regarding parking and building access on March 1.” Dr. Garza is also concerned that the sheer number of citizens entering schools to vote will make it difficult to conduct a normal school day. The Office of Elections and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have encouraged the county to close schools March 1.

After all the missed school days due to snow, many teachers are worried that their even day classes are falling too far behind. Students have already missed five even days, and just three odd days in 2016. With March 1 scheduled to be another even day, students will soon be an entire week behind schedule. Some teachers feel that the decision to cancel school is unreasonable given the amount of even days already lost to snow. 11th grade English teacher Ms. Pamela Jelinek wrote an email to the school board to express her disagreement over the decision. “I think it was a silly move,” she said. “I did not approve of it.”

Chorus teacher Dr. Mac Lambert is also not very excited about the day off, but for a special reason. “I am against not having school because my students and I have a chorus concert that night,” he said. “My odd day classes are way further behind and will end up having to come in early or at night to prepare for our concert.”

According to a poll of 100 Langley students, grades 9-12, 98% were in favor of FCPS closing schools on March 1, while just 2% disagreed with the decision. Fcps2Students enrolled in AP courses will likely have to use their day off to stay on track to finish the course before AP exams in early May. Sophomore Carlye Pollato is against the decision to cancel school. “I’m going to get behind on most of my school work,” she said.

Due to the hours built in to the 2015-16 standard calendar to accommodate weather emergencies, it will not be necessary to make up the school day.