Public schools in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Alexandria, Virginia will close this Wednesday after hundreds of teachers requested the day off to participate in this week's Women's Strike.
“I asked our school principals and central office department heads to survey staff to find out how many absences would occur,” wrote Jim Causby, superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City public school system in North Carolina, in a statement. “The results came back, and the number was significant. In fact, it is my determination that we will not have enough staff to safely run our school district.”
After more than 300 staff members requested leave for Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, schools superintendent Alvin Crawley decided not to hold classes with so many teachers absent.
"This is not a decision that was made lightly," he wrote in a statement. "It is not based on a political stance or position."
Organized by the coordinators of the Women's March, the "Day Without a Woman" protest has called on women to do three things: stop work (both paid and unpaid labor), don't shop (except at small minority- and women-owned businesses), and wear red. They also ask that women give any of their own employees a paid day off.
The New School in New York and a Brooklyn preschool will be closing their doors in solidarity as well. At the University of California, Berkeley, at least 30 professors and instructors will either take their classes to a demonstration in support of the strike or will not hold "business as usual" classes, according to Natalia Brizuela, an associate professor there involved with the day's organizing.
No other school districts have reported closures so far. Spokespeople for the New York City and Los Angeles public school systems said regular staff absence policies will apply for the day.
After 1,700 teachers in Prince George's County Maryland and thirty percent of the transportation staff asked for Wednesday off Tuesday evening, the CEO of the D.C.-area district decided to close all schools for the day.
"Throughout Prince George’s County Public Schools, a high number of school-based and support staff have requested leave for tomorrow, which would compromise our ability to transport students and provide safe, productive learning environments," CEO Kevin Maxwell wrote in a statement. "As a result, schools will be closed Wednesday, March 8 for students. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. Please note that our leave requests significantly increased today, leading to this decision."
Maxwell said, based on the school district's policies, the County Board of Education has no political stance on the "Day Without a Woman" protests.
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Cora Lewis is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Lewis reports on labor.
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