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APS may soon revert to virtual learning on snowy, icy days

Wakefield High School in the snow (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Snow this week has nearly wiped out Arlington Public Schools’ snow days for the winter.

Two months ago, APS modified its winter weather plans to include six traditional “snow days,” in which school is completely canceled, followed by distance-learning days.

Snow overnight and this morning — coupled with Monday’s storm and fallout — resulted in a full five days home from school for APS students and staff this week. That means APS has one more snow day before reverting to virtual learning for future winter weather-related closures.

Virtual learning during winter weather is new for the school system, which, due to the pandemic, was fully virtual for the majority of students and staff for most of the 2020-21 school year.

The new policy will “allow learning to continue and avoid ‘makeup’ days at the end of the school year,” APS said when it announced the changes.

The six-day threshold is based on the number of days built into the current calendar for inclement weather, it said.

A pandemic-era innovation, virtual learning for bad weather is being implemented in a smattering of school systems across the U.S., but the Washington Post reports that Arlington and Fairfax County Public Schools kept some snow days to retain “some sense of normalcy.”

Alexandria City Public Schools was one of the only D.C.-area schools to start the snowy week with virtual learning, a change some bemoaned as the end of the snow day. But there were widespread internet outages and today (Friday), students and staff got their proper snow day.

APS, meanwhile, closed schools closed Monday through Thursday due to Monday’s storm and its effects. It had planned to return kids to school on Thursday but reversed course because many teachers and staff were dealing with child care challenges.

Arlington Parents for Education — a parent group that has advocated for full-time, in-person learning during the pandemic — used this week’s closures to renew its call for APS to align its calendar with that of neighboring Fairfax County Public Schools.

Snow days and virtual learning are a few ways APS can respond to winter weather. It can also delay start by two hours, release early and cancel after-school and weekend activities.

Sports and other extracurricular activities are already canceled until Friday, Jan. 14 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, a decision that frustrated many parents and students.

The surge occurred among athletes, too, with more than 140 positives reported in a 10-day period late last month, Superintendent Francisco Durán told the School Board during its meeting last night (Thursday), which was held virtually.

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It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

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The 3rd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference will feature Thomas Silverstein, renowned Fair Housing expert and Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

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We invite you to join us for an extraordinary evening of music at our Season Finale, “Concerto Celebration”! Enjoy several masterworks as NCE performs two famous concertos in an intimate chamber music setting, opening with a delightful work by Chevalier

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