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Fairfax County implemented new guidelines that measure closings in hours instead of days to determine the end of the school year. The policy now allows for 13 snow days instead of the original three.

In the past, delays had no effect on the use of snow days. However, for this school year, three delays are equivalent to one snow day.

“It was a good idea to add more snow days to the calendar,” math teacher Sarah Ladwig said. “There is not much point in making up days at the end of the school year when students have tuned out.”

With over 400 square-miles in the boundary lines, Fairfax County has to base their decision on the areas that are most impacted by the weather. This can result in some areas around the county not seeing any signs or reasons to delay or even cancel school.

“Usually FCPS does make the right decision,” math teacher Karla Chustz said. “I have worked here seven years and I can think of only two times when they really got the call wrong.”
Senior Ortila Rodriguez disagrees and believes Fairfax County has not made appropriate decisions regarding weather.

“It seems as though they are not using the days properly,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes it is very cold and students have to walk or wait for the bus to go to school.”

With winter still in full swing, teachers and other faculty members may face upcoming challenges with their coursework scheduling.

“The weather has not been a big impact for me yet,” Ladwig said. “If we have a lot of snow days, however, it will be hard to cover all of the material before the SOL.”

On Jan. 6, more snow fell on the untreated roads than meteorologists and school board members initially anticipated. The decision to send students to school was made before all of the snow showers stopped. Since many were ill-prepared for that amount of snow, it caused major delays and accidents during the morning commute.

“My bus was picking up some kids and the bus was slightly uphill,” junior Darya Kharabi. “We ended up getting stuck for about four to five minutes on the hill.”

Students took to social media to express their frustration towards the school board’s decision to not cancel school.

“I was totally shocked to hear about it on national news,” Chustz said. “It was a really bad call that time.”

The hashtag #closefcps trended both worldwide on Twitter throughout the day.

“I thought it was a creative way to convey our message to the school board and the meteorologists who got it wrong,” senior Cassidy Mechalske said. “It just demonstrates the power of social media.”

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