Fairfax County School Officials Publish Letter Explaining Decision to Cancel Classes for 3 Days

Read the letter from the school division that has many residents talking.

Fairfax County Public Schools release statement about its decision to close schools. (Patch file.)
Fairfax County Public Schools release statement about its decision to close schools. (Patch file.)
Fairfax County Public Schools is standing behind its decision to call off school for a third day in a row, resulting in children being absent from their classrooms and learning for almost an entire week. 

The school year could be extended if students lose any more days of school.  
What do you think about the decision to cancel school in Fairfax  County?

A letter posted on the FCPS Facebook page by school division administrators explaining their decision to cancel classes garnered hundreds of comments on Thursday.  

Here's what it said: 

"FCPS’ primary concern is always student safety when making a decision about opening schools. We consider all the methods of transportation that FCPS students use to get to school: school buses, walking to schools or bus stops, parent drivers, and student drivers.
The decision-making process especially considers those teenagers who drive to high schools in the early morning hours before it is light, those students who walk, and those students waiting at bus stops. There are also many students who attend schools, centers, or programs that are long distances from their homes. 

In addition to main arteries such as I-66 and I-495, the county’s transportation system also includes narrow, winding roads in still relatively rural parts of the county such as Clifton and Great Falls. Fairfax County encompasses approximately 400 square miles and road conditions can vary significantly in different parts of the county.
Yesterday and last evening, FCPS transportation supervisors traveled the routes our buses would traverse and inspected bus stops and the pathways walkers would be taking, and found that throughout Fairfax County there were still considerable areas that were unsafe and treacherous. While VDOT has done an outstanding job with the main arteries, there are continuing safety concerns with secondary roads and sidewalks. 

For more on the decision making process, go to fcps.edu/news/weatherdecision.shtml

We are hopeful that the additional time will give road crews, homeowners associations, and private citizens the opportunity they need to clear roads and sidewalks so that students may safely return to school.

Dana January 23, 2014 at 03:58 PM
Yes this county is huge...everyone thinks they have THE answer. What it looks like in my neighborhood may not be the case across the county. I get that, plus the additional scenarios listed. I don't want my kid freezing on the bus, or in his class, or to be at school with the loads of sick kids right now. I've lived here all my life. I understand the decision. Thank you!
Jennifer Rosso Jain January 23, 2014 at 06:41 PM
Okay with the the decision for reasons stated. Not okay with SACC being closed. None of the above reasons should impact SACC. FCPS please address that forgotten issue.
Sandra January 23, 2014 at 06:59 PM
Thank you for taking into consideration the safety of kids walking to school. I still remember one year (many years ago) when school opened even though the sidewalks in our neighborhood were coated with ice. I couldn't even get our car out, it was so slick, so I walked my child to school. We were slipping and sliding, and partway there my child slipped and fractured her shoulder. Believe me, after that I didn't care what the school system said, if I thought it wasn't safe, I kept my child home! I'm glad the school system is now taking a safer approach for all kids!
Tara January 25, 2014 at 03:30 PM
Ditto Sandra! Good call from the board. Anyone who disputes the decision is an irresponsible idiot.
The Horses Mouth January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM
I agree with Sandra and Dana. The weather and road conditions vary widely across Fairfax. Often the western side gets dumped with snow/ice and the eastern side may not be so bad. The decision has to be made for the ENTIRE county, not just your street. Just think if the kids were waiting in below zero wind chills for buses that never made it there due to the cold weather problems they encountered last week when 200 buses were out of service. Good call Fairfax!
Wikirs January 29, 2014 at 04:47 AM
Why doesn't clearing the walkways around the schools for walkers count? Hayfield high has a lot of walkers and none of the sidewalks were cleared. Had 3 days to do it.


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