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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Statement from FCPS Superintendent Karen K. Garza on Primary Day

You may be reading or hearing about a request from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for FCPS to close schools on March 1, primary day in Virginia.  As you know, the School Board voted in October to delay the opening of schools on March 1 by two hours at the request of the County Office of Elections to accommodate the anticipated heavy voter turnout.  At this time, there are no plans to close schools for the entire day on March 1.
 
FCPS is obligated by law to have a 180 day calendar, and if FCPS is closed for primary day, another student holiday would need to be used as school day. 
 
For many years, schools have been open and serving as polling locations without incident.  The safety of our students, staff, and visitors is always our priority and we work closely with election officials, our security team, and law enforcement to ensure the safety of all.   On election day, all school staff and voting officials at each site are asked to remain vigilant and quickly report any suspicious or inappropriate activity.  Extra security patrols are added to address any concerns the schools may have and parent volunteers often assist by walking hallways and monitoring public areas. 
 
Today’s suggestion to close schools on March 1 came as a complete surprise to both FCPS staff and the Fairfax County School Board.  FCPS will be reaching out to the Elections Office to learn more about the new security concerns that have been raised. FCPS will continue to keep the community informed regarding any new developments.   
 
Thank you for your understanding and support.