The HVAC problems at W-L struck on one of the hottest days of the year so far.
Separately, the air conditioning system for the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program was down this morning, but workers were able to get the chiller “back up and running,” according to an Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman. Classes there remain in session.
Washington-Lee’s principal sent the following email to parents this morning.
Dear W-L Families,
We appreciate your children’s patience and resilience as we deal with the HVAC issue in the building.
APS has decided to release students early. We will follow these procedures:
Buses will operate per usual routes.
Walkers will make their way home as normal.
Students who are unable to depart at the new dismissal time may remain on campus — a room in the trailer, where HVAC is unaffected, is available.
APS Facilities and Operations are currently in the building trying to address the problem.
Thank you to our families for their flexibility and support during this unusual situation.
Dr. Gregg Robertson
Principal, Washington-Lee High School
Photo via Google Maps
Abingdon Closed Due to Asbestos Issue — Abingdon Elementary, which is undergoing an expansion and renovation project, is closed today due to an asbestos incident on Tuesday. “This afternoon an error was made by one of the subcontractors working on the Abingdon Elementary School project who did not appropriately handle the removal of asbestos,” parents were told in an email yesterday. “As a result, since it was close to dismissal time APS Facilities staff immediately contacted the school to have all students and staff shelter in place in their classrooms to limit movement throughout the school for the remainder of the day.” APS will conduct testing to determine whether the school can reopen Thursday.
Graffiti PSA From ACPD — Arlington County Police is reminding the public that graffiti on either public or private property should be reported to the police non-emergency line, at 703-558-2222. “Graffiti is not a new problem in Arlington but something ACPD needs your help with,” the department said. ACPD’s Gang Unit reviews all graffiti reports. [Arlington County]
Man Charged With Secretly Filming Sexual Encounter — A former Oregon congressional candidate has been charged in Arlington with secretly recording a video of himself having sex with a 22-year-old woman in his apartment. Jim Feldkamp, 53, most recently worked as an adjunct professor at George Mason University, and the woman was a student there, according to news reports. [Register-Guard, KVAL]
Metro Workers Meet at Arlington Church — A group of Metro workers met last night in an Arlington church to discuss planned budget cuts and service reductions. Said one former bus operator: “Virginia should be outraged. This is going to cause of catastrophe. All of these cuts in Virginia, it’s already gridlock.” [WJLA]
Favola Gets in Knife Fight in Richmond — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) is speaking out against a bill that would make it legal for family members to give several types of knives — a switchblade, Bowie knife and a dirk — to children. Currently, family members can give kids guns but not those types of knives. “This is just bad public policy,” Favola said of the bill, which narrowly passed. “Why would you want to put our children at risk?” [Washington Post]
Earlier School Closing Decisions — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy says the school system will try to make school closing decisions earlier this year, preferably the night before a snow or ice event. [InsideNova]
Arlington Company Gets $1 Billion Investment — Rosslyn-based satellite internet company OneWeb has received a $1 billion investment from SoftBank. The Japanese company said it’s the “first step” in its $50 billion commitment to President-elect Donald Trump to create jobs in the U.S. [Reuters]
APS announced the cancellation decision around 4:30 a.m, as most roads and sidewalks were still icy from freezing rain. Fairfax County Public Schools and many other local school systems made the same call, although D.C. Public Schools are only on a two hour delay.
All APS Schools will be closed and offices will open at Noon. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
As of 7:30 a.m., some streets and sidewalks were still treacherous, even as the freezing rain had changed over to plain rain earlier in the morning. As the temperature quickly warms into the 50s, the slick spots are becoming slushy and then melting completely.
The rain will be heavy at times today and some localized flooding is expected. The National Weather Service has issued.
* THROUGH THIS EVENING
* A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION TODAY. THIS WILL RESULT IN RAIN… WHICH WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE DAY. RAINFALL TOTALS ACROSS THE WATCH AREA ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE BETWEEN 0.50 TO 1.0 INCHES ACROSS SOUTHERN MARYLAND TO THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR TO 1.00 TO 1.50 INCHES WEST OF THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR. THE HEAVIEST RAINS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS AND NORTH CENTRAL AND WESTERN MARYLAND. THIS HEAVY RAINFALL COUPLED WITH SNOW MELT WILL LEAD TO THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES IN THE WATCH AREA TO OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS.
* SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES MAY OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS. ADDITIONALLY… URBAN AREAS PRONE TO POOR DRAINAGE WILL BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLOODING. THE TIME FOR THE GREATEST THREAT OF FLOODING WILL BE FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.
The federal government is under a three hour delay today, with an unscheduled telework option for employees, the Office of Personnel Management announced. Arlington County government and courts, however, are opening on time, with unscheduled leave and telework options for employees, with a supervisor’s approval.
The county’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation, meanwhile, announced the following cancellations and delays.
- Congregate meal programs located at Arlington Mill, Langston and Walter Reed are canceled.
- All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-ops) are canceled.
- DPR elementary or teen afterschool programs are canceled.
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips and nature center programs are canceled.
- Sports league activities in APS standalone buildings are canceled.
- Sports league activities in County facilities will proceed as scheduled based on weather conditions and the status of snow removal.
- Gunston Community Center will open at 2 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- Madison Center will open at 5 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- Carver and Drew Community Centers will open at 6 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- All other community centers, including joint use facilities located at Arlington Mill, Carver, Langston and Thomas Jefferson will open at noon.
School offices will be open on time but students will not have classes, APS said. The last school day for students was Wednesday, Jan. 20.
The last time APS students had this many days off in a row as a result of weather? During the “Snowmageddon” blizzard of 2010.
Students also have a scheduled off day on Monday, due to a teacher grade preparation day. There are no plans to change that, said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
According to Bellavia, so far there is no need for makeup days.
“This year’s calendar included 181 instructional days for elementary, middle and high school students,” he said. “The state requires that students receive either 180 days or 990 hours of instructional time. Based on instructional hours, the first 10 days lost (or the equivalent of 10 school days) will not need to be made up.”
APS Operations Update for Fri, Jan. 29, 2016: All APS Schools Closed; Offices Open on Time
— Arlington Schools (@APSVirginia) January 28, 2016
(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools will be closed Thursday due to an anticipated icy morning commute and remaining snow and hazardous driving on neighborhood streets.
The school system made the announcement around 5:30 p.m.
Students are now entering their second week off; schools have been closed since last Thursday. Students have a scheduled off day on Monday due to a teacher grade preparation day.
Arlington County announced tonight that it has completed initial plow passes on all county roads, making at least one drivable lane in residential areas.
All APS schools will be closed tomorrow and offices will be open on time. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time.
We apologize that today’s notice is later than earlier this week, but we wanted to take more time to assess the situation across the County. Like you, we want to open schools as soon as possible to resume instruction. We still recognize, however, that there are still challenges with snow throughout the community in many neighborhoods. As a result, we have decided to close again tomorrow and our offices will be open on time. Please be assured that APS will open schools as soon as conditions improve. Thank you for your patience and understanding this week.
(Updated at 9:10 a.m.) Arlington Public Schools announced just before 5:00 a.m. Monday that classes are canceled today.
While students have a day off, school office will open at noon.
All APS Schools will be closed and offices will open at Noon. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics.
The federal government meanwhile, is operating under a two-hour delay. From the Office of Personnel Management:
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.
Earlier this morning, an Arlington Alert warned of hazardous travel conditions.
Icy conditions and patchy dense fog expected this morning. Ice will persist on untreated surfaces as air temps remain around freezing. Patchy dense fog will combine with residual ice and may result in slick spots. Visibilities may drop to a quarter mile or less at times. Please use extra caution if traveling. Sidewalks may be quite icy and require particular caution.
Some residents said that while roads were okay this morning, sidewalks were particularly slippery.
@ARLnowDOTcom Roads in Pentagon City fine. Sidewalks are ALL sheets of ice. Have to walk in street to get anywhere
— Sara Caitlyn (@Sarandipity885) March 2, 2015
Parents may not being loving the school closure, but some Arlington little leaguers will apparently be living it up today.
— Arlington LL (@ArlingtonLL) March 2, 2015
(Updated at 8:35 a.m.) Arlington Public Schools are closed Thursday.
APS made the call at 6:00 this morning, joining Alexandria, Fairfax County and numerous other local school systems that decided to close due to snow and poor road conditions.
Based on further review of the road conditions throughout the County, all APS Schools will be closed today and Offices will open two hours late. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Today’s 9:15 a.m. elementary school information sessions have been canceled and will be rescheduled.
The federal government, meanwhile, is open on a two hour delay today.
Forecasters have upped their predicted snow totals. From the National Weather Service:
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EST TODAY…
* LOCATIONS… WASHINGTON DC AND MOST MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA SUBURBS… ALONG WITH THE CENTRAL SHENANDOAH VALLEY AND NORTH- CENTRAL VIRGINIA.
* HAZARD TYPES… SNOW.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS… 2 TO 4 INCHES.
* TIMING… THROUGH THE MORNING. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FALL DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE.
* IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BE SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY… PARTICULARLY FOR SOUTHEASTERN SUBURBS.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… NEAR 30 DEGREES.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
“All Arlington Public Schools and Offices will be closed on Tue, Feb. 17,” APS said in an email. “Essential personnel are to report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult and community education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled.”
All APS pools will also be closed on Tuesday.
Federal government offices will be closed Tuesday, per the Office of Personnel Management.
“FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED,” OPM said on its website. “Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.”
Arlington Transit buses, meanwhile, will operate at “severe service levels” on Tuesday.
“ART will operate only routes 41, 42, 45, 51, 77 & 87 on arterial streets Tuesday Feb 17 due to weather and street conditions. Expect delays,” ART said via email. “No service on S. Courthouse Rd, in Columbia Hts West, the Walter Reed hill, or north of Virginia Hospital Center. No other routes will be operated.”
Encouraging Residency for Top County Staff — Top Arlington County officials should be encouraged to live in Arlington, County Board members said over the weekend, but they stopped short of saying that it should be a requirement. The Board responded to a resident’s concern about non-county residents on staff. County Manager Barbara Donnellan, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac and outgoing Police Chief Doug Scott all live outside the county. [InsideNova]
For Rent: Tiny Two-Story Cottage — A 450 square foot, 1 BR / 1 BA cottage is for rent just off of Lee Highway, near District Taco, and one blogger thinks it’s the “coolest rental in Arlington.” The tiny, standalone house features a living area and kitchenette on the first floor, and a second floor loft bedroom. It’s listed at $1,200 per month. [Real House Life of Arlington]
Millennial Complains About Housing Costs — A member of the millennial generation has written an op-ed in the Washington Post complaining that while his mom was able to buy a house in Arlington as a young photographer in 1976, he is unable to afford one today, as are many other so-called millennials. Nonetheless, millennials currently make up 39 percent of the county’s population. [Washington Post]
Arlington Flag Team Makes National Finals — The Arlington 13-14 girls NFL Flag football team has made the national final game in Arizona, set to be played tonight. The game will be live-streamed on the internet. [Twitter, NFL Flag]
Snow Cancellation Map — How much snow does it take to cancel school in Arlington? About three inches, according to a map created by a Reddit user, which shows cancellation stats by county across the U.S. The map indicates that just a couple hours to the northwest, it takes a foot of snow to cancel school, while a couple of hours to the south “any snow” will result in a cancellation. [Imgur, Reddit]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The Rev. Horace “Tuck” Grinnell, who has served as the pastor for St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Virginia Square since 2010, has been transferred out of Arlington in the aftermath of the church’s impending school closing.
Grinnell sent a letter to his parishioners in the church’s June newsletter announcing he would be transferring to a church in Rappahannock County, Va., but he said the decision was made by Arlington Diocese Bishop Paul Loverde without his consent.
“The alleged reason the Bishop gave for my transfer — against my will — was that I was not a sufficient supporter of Catholic education,” Grinnell wrote. “This is untrue, as I demonstrated to him and his advisors. I have been pastor of Parishes with Catholic schools for the past 28 years and in every parish I have been in I have worked to support and increase the enrollment of each school… Both the Bishop and the Superintendent of Catholic schools not only signed off on, but were in agreement to, the closing of the school.”
The school announced it would be closing its K-8 school in January due to a lack of enrollment. In the school’s announcement, Grinnell said a private school needed to operate at 90 percent capacity to remain viable, but the 117 students this school year only brought the school to 57 percent capacity. “No Catholic school can survive with such low numbers,” he wrote at the time.
The church announced it would restructure the school as an early childhood center, in a letter to parents given to children in their backpacks. Some parents said the closure was announced too abruptly, without allowing its community to have any input.
“[F]or things to end this way is unacceptable and disrespectful,” A parent, Kayleen Fitzgerald, wrote in a letter to ARLnow.com in January. “We were never afforded the respect and dignity to be invited into the process. We were never given financial information or analyses. We were never notified of the warnings that were apparently delivered from the Diocese to the school. We were never rallied and given a goal to try to attain. We were never given a chance to go down swinging.”
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington declined to comment on why Grinnell was transferred, saying “Bishop Loverde is attending the USCCB Spring General Assembly, and it is the policy of the Diocese of Arlington not to discuss personnel matters,” through its spokesman, Michael Donohue.
Grinnell went on to say he believed the decision to transfer him to a church more than 80 miles away was not justified based on how he handled church operations.
“They wanted me out of the parish,” he said. “In the end, I truly believe that this transfer was ‘personal’ and not ‘business’… I love you, the people of St. Charles, and I will miss you! I had hoped to continue to minister here until I turned 75 in eight years. It is not to be. As one of my uncles used to say, ‘paybacks are hell!'”
Frigid temperatures have officials worried about a potential refreeze and hazardous road conditions following today’s snow storm.
It’s at least the 6th day off for Arlington students this school year. All meetings, extracurricular activities, events and adult education classes are also canceled.
There will be no classes Tuesday, but school offices will be open, on a two-hour delay. Essential employees should report to work as scheduled, the school system said Monday evening.
Arlington Public Schools will be closed Friday due to the winter weather.
APS made the announcement just after 5:00 p.m. School offices will open on a two-hour delay. From APS Director of Communications Jennifer Harris:
Essential personnel are to report to work at their scheduled time. Unscheduled leave is available for 12-month employees. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic contests, team practices, field trips, adult and community education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
All school extracurricular activities, adult education classes and Dept. of Parks and Recreation classes are canceled.
Most ART bus service in the morning has been canceled, although Arlington Transit will try to keep ART 51 service running between Ballston Metro station and Virginia Hospital Center. “ART will restore other service tomorrow as street conditions permit,” the agency said.
Metro says it will try to run trains every 6-10 minutes during the morning, as conditions allow. Metrobus service will be limited to major arteries only.
Last week, St. Charles Borromeo Church, near Clarendon, announced that it will be closing its private K-8 school after this school year.
Administrators say the decision is due to low enrollment — only 117 students are currently enrolled at the school, about half of its capacity. Still, parents are upset with the decision, and wondering whether anything could have been done to save the school.
Here’s a letter from one such parent.
My daughter’s school, St. Charles Borromeo in Clarendon, announced suddenly January 13 that it was closing the K-8 portion this June and “restructuring” as an Early Childhood Center.
“So what?” you must be thinking; Catholic schools have been closing at an alarming rate all over the country.
But it’s not that St. Charles Elementary is closing — it’s the process by which it is closing.
We received an email the morning of the 13th that there was an important letter in our child’s backpack for us. I didn’t give the email another thought until I went to pick up my daughter from extended day, when I saw the stricken faces of other parents. I thought maybe that someone in the school community was very ill or had died. Little did I know it was the news of the school closure.
A letter like that should come at the end of a long fight to save your school — after you have done everything you could think of to raise both enrollment and necessary operating funds. Why were parents not even given the opportunity to try?
We were never afforded the respect and dignity to be invited into the process. We were never given financial information or analyses. We were never notified of the warnings that were apparently delivered from the Diocese to the school. We were never rallied and given a goal to try to attain. We were never given a chance to go down swinging.
We were led to believe that everything was fine. We have an active PTO. We have an active enrollment management committee. We have a brand new, engaging, motivated principal who this school year alone brought in 10 new students.
Look — we are not naïve. We understand the economics of private education in this area and the struggles in trying to compete with the fabulous public schools in the region. Maybe in the end, after fighting the good fight, we would not have succeeded. Then we would have been sad to receive the letter, would have licked our wounds, and at least known we did all we could.
But for things to end this way is unacceptable and disrespectful.
In his letter Father Horace H. “Tuck” Grinnell stated “What defeated us in the end was our low enrollment.” I beg to differ. I believe it was a lack of leadership.
So now St. Charles Elementary — the most diverse Catholic elementary school in the diocese and a shining example of Dr. Martin Luther King’s hopes and dreams — is closing. There is no written transition plan, only vague assurances that families will be welcomed with open arms, and current teachers and staff will be given priority for jobs, at other Catholic schools in the area. I only hope this is the case.
I hope the new St. Charles Early Childhood Center will be a success. Those of you in Arlington looking for a preschool would have the joy of working with Principal Angela Rowley and her staff. She is the finest example of Christian love and charity and will educate and care for your children like they were her own. If she can’t make this new center a success, then no one can.
But learn from our situation — demand transparency and participation at all times. Demand accountability from the parish, the superintendent of Catholic schools at the diocese, and from the bishop himself. Maybe then something good will come out of St. Charles Elementary’s untimely and unnecessary death.
In the fall my daughter’s third grade teacher read the class the children’s version of Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea.” On their own the class decided to raise funds for Pennies for Peace, the charity supporting schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They set a goal of $400, and to be honest, I didn’t think there was any way they could raise that amount of money. I thought it would be a great learning experience that sometimes you can’t meet a goal you set.
The kids raised almost $900. Just imagine what their parents could have done for St. Charles Elementary if only we were given the chance.
To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected]. Letters to the editor may be lightly edited for content and brevity.