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Sunday, January 29, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Editor’s Notebook: Smoke ’em if you got ’em

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When in doubt, dip into the archives of the Northern Virginia Sun to pull out some interesting tidbits. It never fails.

And let’s take the wayback machine to this week in 1968, when an Arlington Public Schools task force has recommended easing the existing ban on smoking in county high schools.

The reasoning was a little weird: Trying to stop all students from smoking was like trying to stop all students from getting pregnant, the task force said. Your guess is as good as mine in trying to decipher that rationale.


Anyhoo, can’t speak for Arlington but I do know that Fairfax County’s public schools had outdoor “smoking courts” for students as late as my days there in the early 1980s. I can state on Scout’s Honor (hey, I was a Cub Scout once…) that I neither smoked nor got myself pregnant during my four years at ol’ Herndon High …

SPEAKING OF SCHOOLS, AS WE JUST WERE: We’ll have coverage coming up this week on dueling plans for Arlington Public Schools’ 2023-24 calendar, which could make for interesting discussion at Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Even school officials are acknowledging that their no doubt well-intentioned efforts to bring in more (buzzword alert in 3, 2, 1 …) equity by adding in days off for religious holidays, those celebrated by a wider swath of students, seem to have fallen flat.

A lot of respondents to an online survey on the calendar issue (parents, students, teachers, community members could participate) said that the number of holidays had gotten out of control.

And indeed: Try to find many weeks in any local school district’s calendar where students actually go to class all four days, and you’ll likely come away shaking your heads. Between federal holidays, state holidays, religious holidays, teacher workdays, grading days, in-service days, etc., etc., it’s hard for local students to do much learning when they have to spend all their time keeping track of when to actually show up to learn.

But since the Sun Gazette has never criticized government without positing a solution (ha! haha!!), we will have an editorial on the subject this week. The solution is an obvious one; whether it will ever be implemented is another topic.

HAPPY 80 YEARS! Also from the history file, going back to this week in 1942 (yipes: 80 years ago!), the Northern Virginia Sun gave big play to the architectural drawings of the design for Arlington Hospital, which had been unveiled that week.

After years of the local region and state government not having funding for a local hospital, the feds finally came through with the cash – the growth of the local area due to the influx of war workers showcased the need for new hospitals. Arlington Hospital (now known as Virginia Hospital Center) opened in 1944.

— Scott McCaffrey

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