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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

FCPS apologizes for opening schools on time despite snowfall

A school bus stuck on Murray Lane on the way to Mason Crest Elementary School. Parents were asked to pick up their children. [Photo by Bob Kovacs]
With major traffic jams, road closures, and accidents throughout the region, Fairfax County Public Schools seems to be regretting its decision not to close or even delay school today as the area was hit with three to four inches of snow mostly falling during the morning rush hour.

The social media sphere was full of complaints as students and teachers struggled to get to class in conditions that normally would have meant at least a two-hour delay. #closeFCPS even made the list of top trending hashtags on Twitter.

The bus pointing uphill on Murray Lane struck the yellow sign on the right, as the skid marks show. [Photo by Mary Ellen Dawley]
Several buses were stuck in snow drifts as they tried to negotiate unplowed roads. In Annandale buses were reported stuck on Murray Lane, Beverly Drive, and Masonville Drive. A bus headed to Camelot Elementary School didnt arrive at the school until 11:30 a.m.

FCPS issued an apology “for the difficulties the weather caused this morning.” The message states: “Please know that significant area government entities were coordinating at a very early hour. The decision was made with the best information we had very early this morning. Needless to say, the conditions were far worse than anticipated.”

Weather conditions are expected to improve at midday, FCPS states, so, “at this time, we are planning to dismiss schools at their normal dismissal time.” Parents will be notified if that changes.

“We are aware that people are asking us to cancel school,” the message continues, “Students are safest at school when parents have not had a chance to make alternate plans for their child’s return home from school. However, should you wish to pick up your child early, we will accommodate you.
All activities scheduled in Fairfax County public schools or on school grounds for this afternoon have been canceled, including preschool classes, extracurricular activities, team practices and games, field trips, after-school programs, adult and community education classes, and other activities and uses by outside groups.

A decision will be made later today on whether the public hearing on the Capital Improvement Program scheduled for tonight will take place. [UPDATE: Its been rescheduled to Jan. 7, 6 p.m., at Luther Jackson Middle School.]
Arlington County, Loudoun County, and Washington, D.C., schools also opened on time. Alexandria schools opened two hours late. In Maryland, Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Howard County schools were closed today.


  1. This may have been another one of FCPS's farts! Traffic was ludicrous this morning and the roads certainly put the safety of students and school busses in jeopardy.

    Return this FCPS decision maker to sender, wherever that person's maker may be, Mars maybe?

  2. I work at a local FCPS school and know that the department head who made this decision is new to the position. This is PURE SPECULATION on my part, but I'm guessing he's new to the area, too. (If not, WOW!!)

    However, that doesn't explain Montgomery County's SNAFU--they opened two hours late but decided later to close for the entire day. I'm sure that left many people stranded and scrambling.