More schools will be closed on the March 1 presidential primary

On Monday the Loudoun County School Board voted to close schools on March 1, Super Tuesday. The Fairfax County School Board and the Prince William County School Board had earlier made the same decision due to concerns about high voter turnout. The Fairfax County School Board voted on February 18 to change from a two-hour delay to a school holiday. Eleven school board members voted for the change; Elizabeth Schultz (R-Springfield) abstained. The Prince William County School Board voted unanimously January 20 to close schools on March 1. The only employees who work that day are 12-month employees.

The Washington Post article, Loudoun County schools will close for Super Tuesday, featured an interesting comment, posted by someone signing on as pitcher99:

As a retired teacher with 32 years experience in Reno NV, and 11 years in Fairfax County the closing of schools on Primary Days and Election Days is totally uncalled for. The students (and teachers) have enough interruptions without this. Are the students learning that elections are to be feared? I used to bring my classes to the gym or whatever room was set aside for the occasion so they could watch the process. Guess that is in the wastebasket along with History, Civics, Handwriting. the list goes on……

The polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For the Primary, voters will be required to choose a Republican or a Democratic ballot. On February 4, the State Board of Elections voted to approve the Republican Party of Virginia’s request to rescind the statement of affiliation requirement for the March 1 Republican Presidential Primary.

Fairfax schools will be delayed two hours on Super Tuesday

The Fairfax County School Board has approved the request from the Fairfax County Board of Elections to delay the opening of school on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, by two hours to accommodate an anticipated increase in voter turnout for the 2016 presidential primary, also known as Super Tuesday.

Fairfax County School Board considers delayed opening for Super Tuesday

The Fairfax County Board of Elections has asked the Fairfax County School Board to implement a two-hour delayed opening for school on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, to accommodate an anticipated increase in voter turnout for the 2016 presidential primary. The school board will consider this request for a delayed opening for Super Tuesday at its October 22 business meeting.

A total of 165 of the 196 schools and centers in Fairfax County Public Schools are used as polling places.

Fairfax announces revised procedures for emergency school closings

Fairfax County Public Schools has published revised regulations for emergency school closings, or delays, or early dismissals.


Will AP tests be delayed because of snow days?

Later AP tests possible due to snow days. This NBC4 report quotes Megan McLaughlin, the Fairfax County School Board member representing Braddock District, on the problems in preparing for AP exams when ten days have been missed from the school year and there have been eight delayed openings: “[It] absolutely raises the anxiety level for, I think, our students and our teachers on how do we make up that lost ground and time because of that hard and fast May testing date.”

The College Board sent News4 the following email:

“The College Board is in the process of assessing the impact of significant school closures due to winter weather conditions on Advanced Placement programs in affected areas. We will share any testing updates with schools before the 2014 exam ordering deadlines.”

Update on snow days

News about snow days:

Snow days are adding up at Washington area schools this winter. (Washington Post)

School districts craft plans to make-up snow days –

Students need a full day on Monday

This is the second day of the petition to  Stop Monday Early Dismissals and Provide More Recess Time . Just click on this link to sign the petition to the Fairfax County School Board.

Here are two excellent comments from the petition:

  • Michael Hudson SPRINGFIELD, VA

I have 3 kids in Fairfax elementary schools (one more kid going in 2 years). This last couple of months (with delays and snow days) have been the hardest in making sure that my kids have the appropriate amount of instructional time (at school and at home) that really allows them to learn. In some ways, I have already seen them falling behind. If we had all that extra time on Mondays, I do believe that my kids and the school system would be in a better place via the amount of REAL time spent on education and learning.

  • Margo Sterling RESTON, VA

As a retired FCPS teacher, I never could understand the benefit of early closing. The students need a full day on Monday. And, they also need a full break every day for recess. It just makes sense. Monday is too short to do anything but skip a subject or to shorten the time for a subject. So much to learn, so little time to do it in.

Some Fairfax secondary schools have late starts or early dismissals

Yesterday I mentioned the comments that Ed Linz made about the amount of instructional time in Fairfax high schools. He noted that in response to the requirements of No Child Left Behind, FCPS high schools “were directed to carve a period of time out of the school day to be used for remediation; students who did not require this assistance would be allowed to do homework, complete makeup work, or, in some schools, socialize or surf the internet during the remediation periods. “

Additional time is taken out of the school day by some secondary schools that have some late start or early dismissal days. The buses keep the same schedule, but students have the option of attending only when classes are actually being held. These schedule changes are sometimes called “collaboration days,” since teachers can take that opportunity to meet and collaborate. A few schools have collaboration days every week.

There have not been many full school days recently

Here is an update from Michael J. Hudson, who had earlier said full-day Mondays would be beneficial.

Now that we’ve reached the end of the month, by my count, the official total number of completely FULL days of learning for kids going to FCPS elementary schools BETWEEN November 25th, 2013 and February 3rd, 2014 (inclusive) is 19!!! NINETEEN!! That’s less than HALF the total number of weekdays in that time period EVEN if you take into account the two day Thanksgiving holiday and the two-week Christmas holiday!?!? If FCPS elementary schools had FULL DAY Mondays, that would have added 11 whole days to that total!!

Snow and cold weather affect schedules and buses

Roundup of news and opinions about how Washington area school districts plan for and cope with winter weather:

Fairfax Co. school buses delayed due to mechanical issues | NBC4 Washington.

Two school systems announce 2-hour delays, bus problems –

School calendars should make room for more snow days – The Washington Post. Several comments questioned the statement in this editorial that Loudoun County “schedules 15 extra days of instruction and so, unlike other systems, isn’t now scrambling to figure out how to make up for the lost time….”

Aside from the question of exactly how many days or hours Loudoun schedules, I like the Post’s conclusion: “Loudoun’s calendar allows for even the most severe winters, and if the days aren’t needed, students simply get extra instruction. That, to our mind, is an added benefit.”

Students don’t get much extra instruction in Fairfax. During the 2011-2012 school year, when only one day for adverse weather was used, the Fairfax County School Board decided to end school early. See Fairfax proposal for earlier end to school year needs more explanations, and Superintendent Dale clarifies the plans for the last days of the school year for teachers and staff.