Schools across Alexandria, VA, will be closed on Wednesday, March 8, as the district experiences a "Day Without A Woman"—part of a nationwide women's strike slated to take place on International Women's Day.
In a notice posted online, school superintendent Alvin L. Crawley explained that over 300 area staff members had requested time off to join in the protests, prompting the decision to close district schools entirely.
"This is not a decision that was made lightly," Crawley wrote. "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."
Alexandria joins the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district in North Carolina, which announced last Friday that it would be closed as a result of the scheduled protest. There, district officials offered a similar explanation for their decision, saying, "The decision is made solely to avoid operating school on a day when there are insufficient staff to provide instruction and basic school services."
Despite the closures in Virginia, superintendent Crawley said the district would still provide breakfast and lunch at several local schools, noting that the meals would be open to all students, regardless of where they attended class.