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Fairfax County Announces Closure Information for Thursday, Jan. 23

Closure information for Thursday, Jan. 23 in Fairfax County.

Fairfax County public schools will be closed on Thursday, Jan. 23. Offices will open on time.

The following activities in schools and on school grounds are canceled:
  • extracurricular activities
  • interscholastic contests
  • team practices
  • field trips
  • middle school after-school programs
  • professional learning and training courses
  • all adult and community education classes
  • recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS

School Age Child Care (SACC) centers are closed. 


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Laurie Dodd January 22, 2014 at 08:51 PM
There is not enough snow on the ground to justify this decision, particularly with another storm in the forecast for Monday.
jb January 22, 2014 at 08:57 PM
I highly disagree with this decision. Our FCPS Board needs to take control of the decision making process here and evaluate why this decision was made. The weather was bad on Tuesday and even truly too cold on Wednesday to have school. In the North and Midwest, the cold would not have stopped school but I can at least understand the decision made not to have school on these 2 days. There is no legitimate reason not to have school on Thursday. I will remember these issues the next time there is a school board vote. Frankly, this type of decision making does not consider families like mine where both parents work.
roobert dowles January 22, 2014 at 08:59 PM
This is a joke.Our kids can not attend school when the temperature is below 20 degrees.There has been so few school days since December 19th.And we want to compete in a world economy when it is too cold to have school.I have the answer.Give the new Super 6 percent more.That will solve the problem.
Michael January 22, 2014 at 09:55 PM
I assume it to be due to these factors: 1. Cul-de-Sacs (of which there are many) remain extremely treacherous due to the extreme cold and the ice-pack on top of the snow in many areas. 2. There is a lot of ice on the paths that children would have to walk to school which has not been cleared and some are virtually impassable unless one possesses the right footwear. It's not reasonable to expect students to own this, given that it would be needed about 1-2 days before they outgrow it. 3. While the high for Thursday is in the 20s, the temperature at school-start time will be about 11, with a windchill of 2. A two-hour delay would only put us up to 14 (windchill of 6). This is barely warmer than Wednesday was. I understand the frustration. I grew up in Upstate NY and this was run-of-the-mill stuff. However we had ample equipment, road-shoulders wide enough for plowing, and a reasonable expectation of clear sidewalks and paths. Every student, no matter how poor, had the right gear, because you would need it for at least 40-50 days per year. It's simply not reasonable to push that expectation this far south, unless you're willing to pay for road-shoulders, snow plows, and path-clearers. Tax hike, anyone?
Catherine January 22, 2014 at 09:58 PM
I'm pretty sure it's because the school buses can't get into the side streets. It's purely a safety issue. All the need to have is one bus accident and everyone would be all over them about rushing to get back before the streets were cleared off.
roobert dowles January 22, 2014 at 10:02 PM
Michael you sound like a real liberal.With your logic school should be closed again on Friday since the temperatures will be about the same and why would you open for one day?This can go on and on until we have to go to school in late June or early July when you will tell us it is too hot and we need to air condition all the schools.
Ana Ham January 22, 2014 at 11:50 PM
Neighborhood streets people.
John G January 23, 2014 at 01:01 AM
I think the main factor is high wimp factor where ANY discomfort will not be tolerated so we can continue the upbringing (in age) of this "bubble wrapped generation"....
jb January 23, 2014 at 06:22 AM
I generally don’t comment on a lot of posts, but felt that I had to follow up. The decision to close on Thursday teaches our children to fear cold weather and not to be able to deal with the occasional change in temps. If we had school today, even with a delay, it would have been fine. People make do and parents step up. I think that this decision also sets a bad precedent for FCPS if we have cold temps in the future. I suspect, however, given the political nature of these things, that if we have the same cold temps later, but have extended the school year 2-3 days at that point that schools will be open (teachers and students generally like a school day off here an there, but not when the school year gets lengthened). Another problem that I have is that there is no accountability from the FCPS Board and the FCPS Superintendent to let us know specifically the reason why the schools were closed; not the general fact sheet with no rationale provided. My daughter, born in this area, could not believe that she could not go to school for the third day in the row because it is too cold. I have been around most areas of Reston and they are completely passable, even most side streets. I respect everyone else’s opinion, but I think FCPS needs to revisit how they arrived at this decision and would ask that they not make the same mistake on Friday.
msilver3 January 23, 2014 at 08:13 AM
I completely agree with the previous comment. Thanks for saying something.
Michael January 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Well, Roobert Dowles, you reveal your ignorance in a couple of your statements. 1. We have had school on days with temperatures below 20 degrees, including this year, thus negating your first argument. 2. All the schools already have air conditioning, thus negating your last argument. 3. As I stated, (I thought pretty clearly), this is about the ICE. Our chemicals are not sufficient to melt it at temperatures below about 12-15 degrees. We lack sufficient equipment to clear it any other way; nor do we have snow boots to walk safely on it. This isn't about fearing cold - I've been outside, and have encouraged children to go out as long as they're properly dressed. This IS about making sure that there is a reasonably safe way to get to school without having to navigate a mini-glacier on the way. I prefer a snow day to emergency rooms packed with children, or busses sliding down hills. JBerry - Time to look beyond your own backyard. Think about the WHOLE COUNTY. Yes, viewed from Reston and Herndon, the streets are clear. But FCPS is required to make a county-wide decision, so conditions in Great Falls, Clifton, or Lorton/Gunston areas are also a factor. I assure you that as of this morning, many of their streets are not yet as clear as ours.
Michael January 23, 2014 at 10:24 AM
In any case, what does being liberal have to do with anything? That was a senseless bit of name-calling. Some of the world's best liberals come from Vermont. Others come from San Diego. It's hard to see any connection with climate, or cheimaphobia, in that.
The Convict January 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM
The "Liberal" epithet is supposed to be a slur, as if "Liberal" is a bad thing. But the opposite is true. I think most people are proud of the "Liberal" education. I am generally proud of our "Liberal" freedoms. And need I remind you that the words "Liberal" and "Liberty" are related to each other. ---- In this case, the use of the word "Liberal" is an admission that the person using the word simply can't make a sufficient counter-argument and, so, they seek to attack the messenger instead of the message. In other words, just like cussing, it's the sign of a small mind unable to adequately express itself. ----- As for schools, the kids are going to get 180 days no matter what. So, instead of scrambling to find care during the Spring break, you scramble to find care now. It's all the same to me. ----- Frankly, instead of fretting over the time that I'm not at work, I'm enjoying spending some mid-week time with the Delinquents.
Catherine January 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM
I stand by my previous comment that it's mostly fear of lawsuits. Conditions, as Michael stated, are too dangerous for the school buses.
Curmudgeon January 23, 2014 at 11:19 AM
JBerry says, "[T]his type of decision making does not consider families like mine where both parents work." That's your problem; school is not daycare. If the side streets are still icy, not to mention the sidewalks, what do you suggest? Students walking in the roads?
jb January 23, 2014 at 01:53 PM
Everyone, this is my last post on the subject, but I wanted to address some of the points raised. Michael: I agree; politics is not the issue here. I may be a Dem but I don’t think that this should be a partisan issue. I do disagree with you about the whole county issue. Arlington and Alexandria were open today (albeit delayed) and I was in Great Falls very early today in my work, in addition to other parts of the county. They were fine for school. Curmudgeon. I also agree that daycare is a problem when school closes; it happens to be a problem shared by a lot of working mothers and fathers. I think that a lot of us would agree with me that when school closes unreasonably it creates an unnecessary problem for them. 2 income families should be entitled to expect that school is held on days when it is reasonable. If it was unsafe, I would say close the school. This was not the case today. I obviously thought Monday was a day that should have been off given the snow. However, FCPS, given the number of 2 income families in Fairfax clearly needs to consider this issue when making questionable call-off decisions like the one made today. They have a significant impact on working families. I think that today was a very far reach. By the way, our FCPS school functions as a daycare as well; it operates a SACC after-care program where parents (like me) pay the FCPS for after school care. When school is closed, after school care is closed as well (no refunds). You asked what I suggest. I suggest (expect) parents to step up in situation like this and walk their kids to school if need be. If that is too far to go, then parents should walk them to the bus or drop them off by car. All of these options were doable today. Hopefully, Friday is different. Take care.
Catherine January 23, 2014 at 02:54 PM
I believe the reason Arlington and Alexandria opened were because most of the kids walk and they don't have the problem with so many buses.
John G January 23, 2014 at 05:43 PM
Why can't the bus routes have an alternate designated 'central spots' near a more trafficked intersection (presumably these roads would be better cleared) when side roads are too icy? The children could walk the extra 500 feet to get to these spots (HA! all of the kids seem fine to be out playing in the weather or at home watching their 50in flat screen TVs) The storm is a laugh in itself - there was less than 6 inches of snowfall with days of advance notice and the snow stopped nearly 12 hours before school time . I refuse to buy the argument that children don't have boots in this area for economic reasons - the holidays are just concluded and I'll bet they all have or got iPhones and iPads....but BOOTS?? What a horrid present!
The Convict January 23, 2014 at 07:12 PM
As a point of clarification (which might be just splitting hairs), FCPS does not operate SACC; the County government does. ----- I might also add that, if you were advocating for the single parent households, then your argument might have more validity. But a two income family...
Michael January 23, 2014 at 08:57 PM
It's quite myopic to assume that because kids in your family, or your neighborhood, are well-off, everyone must be. I know lots of kids without iPhones and iPads. In some schools close to 50% of kids don't even have a computer or internet access at home. If you've been following the budget debates you know that real poverty is on the rise in wealthy Fairfax. I also know that at 10 am I saw drivers sliding almost uncontrollably down a hill between Great Falls and Dranesville. There was only a little snow, but PLENTY of ice. As I said before, that was the main issue. An extra day has given crews time to clear things out, and on Friday, contrary to Roobert's prediction, a delay is all that is necessary.

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