Loudoun School Leaders Consider Canceling Classes on Inauguration Day

Loudoun County students may, just may, get Inauguration Day off school.

After receiving several inquiries from parents, the School Board is discussing whether to cancel classes Friday, Jan. 20, to allow students and employees to attend the inauguration ceremony of president-elect Donald J. Trump.

Superintendent Eric Williams told board members Tuesday he prefers to hold classes that day. “Not that we disapprove of having off Inauguration Day,” he said, but the staff disapproves of altering a calendar that the board adopted a year ago. “We think, given that there’s already a calendar, we stick to that calendar.”

There is precedent for this, however. In November 2008, the School Board voted to alter the already adopted calendar to cancel school Jan. 20, 2009, for the first inauguration of President Barack Obama.

School was also out for Obama’s second inauguration in 2013, but only because it fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

School Board member Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) said she would oppose canceling school that day because no one knows what this winter will bring and how many snow days might be in the school system’s future. Plus, she questioned how many of the division’s 10,000 employees and 78,000 students would actually attend the ceremony in Washington, DC.

“Teachers could stream it in to the classroom and students would actually get more information about the inauguration, as opposed to kids staying at home and playing video games,” she said.

Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) voiced support for making Inauguration Day a school holiday. “I have five tickets,” he offered.

To which Sheridan responded, “I’m going to respectfully pass, thank you.”

The board was presented with four options, should it decide to make Jan. 20 a school holiday. Option A would treat Jan. 20 like a snow day for students and employees that would not have to be made up; Option B would make President’s Day a school day to make up for Inauguration Day off; Option C would make the Friday before spring break the make-up day and teachers would be required to work one day during spring break as a planning day; and Option D would extend the school year by one day.

dnadler@loudounnow.com
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