ALEXANDRIA CITY, Va. -- All ACPS schools will close Wednesday, March 8, after more than 300 staff members requested off, which the superintendent characterized in a public letter as an "unusually high number of requests."
"This may be attributed to the observance of International Women’s Day. This day has also been deemed A Day Without Women," stated Superintendent Alvin Crawley. "Consequently, ACPS has decided to close schools for students for the day. This day will be a teacher work day for ACPS staff."
A Day Without a Woman is a planned national strike, organized by the same group that was instrumental in organizing the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21. It has similarities to a 1975 Icelandic women's strike to protest wage discrepancies and unfair employment practices that disadvantaged women.
The strike organizers state on their website that women can participate in three ways:
- "Take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor."
- "Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses)."
- "Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman."
Crawley went on to state, "This is not a decision that was made lightly. We have been closely monitoring requests for leave on March 8, including communicating with school leaders and our education association. The decision is based solely on our ability to provide sufficient staff to cover all our classrooms, and the impact of high staff absenteeism on student safety and delivery of instruction. It is not based on a political stance or position."
The superintendent provided the following procedural information for Wednesday:
- "All Campagna Center Early Childhood Programs (Head Start, Early Head Start) and Campagna Kids After School programs will operate on the normal schedule. Campagna Kids Before School Program will be closed (Samuel Tucker and Polk Elementary School sites).
- All Rec programs at schools will continue to operate as usual.
- All ACPS scheduled after-school activities for March 8 will continue as planned."
"ACPS will provide breakfast at 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and lunch at 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at:
- Patrick Henry Elementary School
- Jefferson-Houston School
- Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology
- William Ramsay Elementary School
- Francis C. Hammond Middle School
- T.C. Williams High School"
"These programs are open to ALL students whether they attend that school or not. If you have questions regarding this decision please email the Office of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org."