Hopewell schools switching days off

By Nichole Bell - bio | email

HOPEWELL, VA (NBC12) - The School Board's decision to change the holiday schedule is being met with mixed reaction.

"It's a smack in the face because President's Day has always been President's Day. Just because somebody new is coming in we're just going to blow President's Day aside," says Gary Hewitt.

Gary has a son in the 7th grade.

He says, "They should leave things they way they are. Not change things. That's the way I feel about it."

Lnda Kiefer feels differently. She has five grandchildren in the school system.

Linda says, "Is it a big deal? No, I don't think it is."

School leaders say there's a good reason for trading the President's Day school holiday with Inauguration Day.

"The change was needed to honor and respect the request by employees and parents to attend or observe the historic nature of this inauguration," says Winston Odom, Hopewell Superintendent of Schools.

And with an anticipated large absentee rate of staff on Inauguration Day, the Superintendent of Schools says it would be difficult to fill those spots with substitutes. The change will also impact when semester exams will start. Originally scheduled for Inauguration Day, Tuesday, Jan. 20th, exams will now start a little earlier on Friday, January 16th.

Odom says, "If we did open we'd administer the exams and it would be difficult to ensure the reliability of results with substitute teachers"

As for Linda Kifer she's hoping the school board will extend the same curtesy in the future.

"It's like someday when a women gets to be President, I hope they do the same for her," she says.

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