Fairfax Co. students given day off for presidential primary

WASHINGTON — The Fairfax County School Board voted Thursday night to close schools for the Virginia primary, on March 1.

Teachers and students will not be expected to report to school on that date, but school offices will be open.

The day is known as Super Tuesday, considered to be the biggest day of the primary season, when Virginia and a handful of other states vote in the 2016 presidential primaries.

Fairfax County is not the only jurisdiction in Virginia to make the decision to close for the day. Prince William County and Stafford County have also decided to close schools.

In previous election years, Fairfax County schools have remained open.

“In light of historic turnouts in primaries across the country in the past few weeks, it is anticipated that voter turnout in Fairfax County will likewise result in historic numbers of voters,” the school system stated in a news release.

According to the release, 167 Fairfax County Public Schools buildings are being used as polling sites. the majority of those are elementary schools that have limited parking and restricted building access.

The Fairfax County School Board says it is concerned that the number of voters expected to enter the schools will make it difficult to conduct a normal school day.

“Thank you to the Fairfax County School Board for recognizing that increased interest in the March 1 presidential primary presented complications for students and voters if the schools remained open. Closing them is a good decision,” said Electoral Board Secretary Katherine Hanley in a news release. “We encourage all our registered voters to participate in this primary election.”

Because of the hours already built into the school calendar for weather emergencies, the school system says a make up day will not be necessary.

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