Area Schools Feel Force of Terrorist Attacks

By Liz Seymour and Annie Gowen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2:27 p.m.

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Families of passengers on the following flights may call the airlines for information at the numbers below:
• American Airlines: 1-800-245-0999
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The following flights are believed to have been affected in today's attacks:
• American Airlines Flight 11: A Boeing 767 en route from Boston to Los Angeles.
• American Airlines Flight 77: A Boeing 757 en route from Dulles Airport near Washington to Los Angeles.
• United Airlines Flight 93: A Boeing 757, crashed southeast of Pittsburgh while en route from Newark, N.J. to San Francisco.
• United Airlines Flight 175: A Boeing 767. The flight was bound from Boston to Los Angeles.
_____Related Articles_____
• NY, D.C. Rocked by Attacks
• Nightmare Shatters NY Morning
• Nation's Capital Plunged into Panic
• Pentagon Evacuated After Attack
• U.S. Tries to Identify Culprit
• Bush Orders Govt. to 'Hunt Down' Perpetrators
• Bush Addresses 'Difficult Moment'
• Federal Gov't Closes Offices
• FAA Closes Airports
• World Reacts With Revulsion
• States Take Precautions
• Attacks Snarl Local Traffic
• D.C. Schools Feel Force of Attacks
• Region's Phone System Buckles
• Internet Slows After Attacks
• Stock Markets Closed
• Baseball Cancels Games
• Marc Fisher: Coddled No More
• Howard Kurtz: 'War Movie' Unfolds on TV News
_____Related Content_____
• Overview: Q & A
• Timeline of Today's Attacks
• Previous Attacks on U.S. Targets
• Photo Gallery: New York Attacks
• MSNBC Video: World Trade Center Collapse
• MSNBC Video: World Trade Center Crash
• MSNBC Video: President Bush
• MSNBC Video: Colin Powell
• Audio: Eyewitness at Pentagon
• Audio: Expert on Anti-Terrorism
• Webcam: Pentagon Fire
• Text: Bush Comments on Attacks
_____Closings, Evacuations_____
• Nationwide Closures
• D.C.-Area Closures
_____On the Web_____
• List of Businesses in the World Trade Buildings
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• Metrorail Conditions

• Nationwide Closures
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• List of Businesses in the World Trade Buildings
___ Reporter's Query ___

Getting Home
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The terrorist acts that rocked the Washington region today brought a steady stream of parents coming to pick up their children for the day, as school officials weighed whether to close schools. Northern Virginia school districts and D.C. schools opted to remain open, while most Maryland schools shut one or two hours early. Almost all districts canceled after school and evening activities.

“It’s pretty chaotic,” said Anne Arundel schools spokeswoman Jane Beckett. “We’re getting a lot of phone calls, and a lot of parents are picking their kids up.” Complicating Anne Arundel’s situation were the seven schools that sit on the Fort Meade base in the western part of the county. The district decided to close down an hour and a half early.

In Northern Virginia, parents were welcome to pick up children at any time as long as they presented proper identification. By 11 a.m., an estimated 50 parents had come to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County to get their teens. In Prince William County, officials have not received “a deluge of phone calls from concerned parents,” said Irene Cromer, a school spokeswoman.

Extra security precautions have been taken in every Northern Virginia school district. All school doors are locked and children are not allowed outside for recess, lunch or gym class today, said officials in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, and Prince William counties. Northern Virginia students attending classes in trailers, which are located on school grounds but are not physically attached to the school, are being evacuated and sent to the main building.

Officials said they were reluctant to close schools early. Buses would encounter the traffic gridlock from commuters returning from the District and the Pentagon area. They also said they didn’t want to release students before the usual dismissal time because many have working parents.

Besides, said Kitty Porterfield, a spokeswoman for Fairfax County Public Schools, “we figure this is the safest place for them to be.”

In Maryland, Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) declared a state of emergency, but stopped short of closing schools, leaving it up to the local superintendents. “Parents might be tied up in traffic and can’t get home right away,” said a spokesman. “He wants the individual school systems to decide when they actually close.” Schools in Montgomery County decided to close down and hour early and Prince Georges two hours early. St. Mary’s County closed schools on a staggered schedule. Howard closed a half hour early, which was as quick as it could get its buses to the schools.

Calvert County decided to keep its schools open in part because parents, many of them who work for the federal government, were having trouble leaving in the melee and traffic problems in the District.

“We think that children are safer right were they are than to go home where there is no parent there,” said a spokesman for the Calvert schools. Frederick schools also remained open.

In the District, extra security officials were sent to the schools by the federal government.

In Fairfax, students and teachers were glued to televisions sets in classrooms and discussing the terrorist attacks. Counselors were available to meet with students and staff, many of whom have spouses or other relatives working in D.C. and the Pentagon area.

At Thomas Jefferson, Principal Elizabeth Lodal said she has lifted the school ban on cell phone use inside the building so students can call their families.

“The thing we need to do is stay calm,” Lodal said.

Principal James Person at Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County said there are pockets of schoolwork going on, but it has been tough for students and teachers to keep their minds off the news.

“They’re trying but it is extremely difficult,” he said. “We had a lot of TVsets on at the beginning of the day.”

Staff writer Darragh Johnson contributed to this report.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company