As expected, the Fairfax County School Board voted Thursday to close all schools on Tuesday, March 1.
Virginians will vote in the 2016 Presidential Primary that day. The school board had voted in October for a two-hour delay that day, but with a record turnout expected, reconsidered.
In past presidential primaries, Fairfax County public schools have remained open, and the board had planned to continue this practice with the upcoming primary. 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 (FCPS) buildings are used as polling sites, 124 of which are elementary schools with very limited parking and restricted access in and around buildings.
Record voter turnouts in New Hampshire and Iowa, and anticipation of an historic voter turnout from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, led the Board to believe that there could be significant logistical issues regarding parking and building access on March 1.
The Board was also concerned that the sheer number of citizens entering schools to vote will make it difficult to conduct a normal school day. Both the Office of Elections and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors encouraged the Board to consider closing schools March 1 and, after deliberating with state officials, they decided to do so.
Teachers and students will not report to school on March 1. SACC (school age child care), school offices, and central offices will be open.
Since FCPS has extra hours built into the school calendar to accommodate weather emergencies, it will not be necessary to make up the day.