It snows about three times a year in Washington. So if you are, say, the superintendent of the area’s largest school district, there aren’t that many opportunities to screw up when it comes to closing schools.
An earlier version of this article misstated the time at which the Fairfax County Public Schools decided to close schools on Thursday. The version below has been corrected.
On Tuesday morning, the Washington region was paralyzed by a modest three or four inches of snow. Roads were untreated and unplowed. Most school districts canceled classes or delayed the start of school for two hours.
Not Fairfax! FCPS opened on time. The outcry from parents was immediate and far reaching: "#closeFCPS" began trending on Twitter as reports of classrooms without teachers or with just a handful of students made the rounds on social media.
Eventually, Garza issued an apology. “The decision was made with the best information we had very early this morning,” she said in a statement. “Needless to say, the conditions were far worse than anticipated.”
That was cold comfort to the thousands of kids and families stranded in cars and buses around the county, which has more than 1.1 million residents.
But Garza wasn’t done messing with Fairfax families. Initially, FCPS announced that the school system would open two hours late on Thursday. Then Thursday morning, Garza announced that schools would be closed for the day.
“The decision to change from a two hour delayed opening to an all day closing for schools was made today because, as our bus drivers reported to work, it was evident that many of our buses would not start in this morning’s cold weather,” read a statement on the FCPS Web site. “. . . We understand the change to an all day closing creates problems for many.”
Karen Garza, for opening when you should have closed (and vice versa), you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Each week, Chris Cillizza awards the worst week in Washington to an inhabitant of Planet Beltway who stands out for all the wrong reasons. You can check out previous winners or e-mail Cillizza with candidates. You can also read more from Outlook and follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.