Loudoun County students and teachers will be asked to report to school on Inauguration Day, despite a request from some to declare it a system-wide holiday.
The School Board voted 7-2 Tuesday night to follow its calendar adopted a year ago and hold classes on Jan. 20. Board members Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) opposed the motion, preferring the school day be canceled.
“Some say it’s too late in the calendar year to make this change. But in 2008, the decision [to cancel classes for Inauguration Day] was made on Nov. 11. The precedent was set,” DeKenipp said.
DeKenipp has five tickets to the inauguration ceremony of president-elect Donald J. Trump.
He pointed out that 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 because it fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Board member Debbie Rose (Algonkian) countered his point, and noted that over the last 20-plus years, more often than not, Inauguration Day has been an instructional day in Loudoun.
“In January, we have many days off, which is very hard on our kids and our teachers who have to get our kids back on track,” Rose said.
Superintendent Eric Williams recommended holding classes that day, only because he did not want the calendar that had been set a year ago altered.
Students who choose to attend the inauguration or watch it on television will accrue an excused absence that day, because they would be missing classes for educational reasons, according to Williams.
Rose, and a few board members, suggested the board adopt a policy that offers a guideline on whether, going forward, Inauguration Day is a school holiday to avoid a last-minute, politically charged decision.