Primary election, NHRA prompts adjustments to DCPS calendar

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: February 26, 2020 | 2:15 p.m.

DINWIDDIE – A pair of calendar adjustments have been approved by the Dinwiddie School Board due to the upcoming Democratic primary next week and the springtime NHRA event at Virginia Motorsports Park later this year.

According to Dinwiddie Public Schools’ Christie Clarke, schools in the county will close Tuesday, March 3 as several schools are expected to be utilized for that day’s Democratic primary.

“We have four out of our seven schools that will be used as voting places, which is more than normal,” she detailed, noting Sunnyside, Sutherland, and Midway elementary schools, along with Dinwiddie Middle will all serve as polling places for Tuesday’s primary which, if school was in session, could present disruptions to the school day at the facilities.

“That would mean we would have kids at school, the public at the school at the same time, using parts of the building,” Clarke continued. “A lot of times, the polling place is set up in the gym but, then you have to displace all of the school’s physical education classes for the day and, at the middle school, that would affect a lot of students.”

In addition, on Friday, May 29, Dinwiddie County Public Schools will be closed ahead of the National Hot Rod Association’s Virginia Nationals event at Virginia Motorsports Park.

With the event expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Dinwiddie County, all utilizing a primary route for school buses – U.S. Route 1 – to get to the track, school officials opted to close for the day, giving students a three-day weekend.

DCPS has closed schools in 2018 and 2019 due to expected travel impacts from the national drag racing event.

“Our transportation department talked with the Virginia Department of Transportation and county public safety officials about traffic and other matters for that Friday,” Clarke said.

An earlier event which will see Virginia Motorsports Park host longtime Discovery Channel show Street Outlaws on April 24 and 25 isn’t expected to affect the school division’s operations that Friday. According to the county last week, that event is estimated to draw similar numbers to that of the track’s annual NHRA event, between 25,000 to 35,000 people.

“We were considering that but, the recommendation of VDOT and the county’s public safety was they didn’t feel like we needed to close,” she said. “It is all about the timing related to the buses, and when the gates open at the track, and things like that.”

According to Clarke, an automated call is expected to go out to parents Wednesday to inform them of the calendar revisions.

Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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