Many of the sites Grandview Heights eighth-graders are scheduled to visit on their upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., are closed because of the government shutdown, which took effect Oct. 1.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats in the U.S. Senate have been at an impasse regarding funding the federal government. In the early stages, "nonessential" federal workers are in the crosshairs. The primary point of contention is the Affordable Care Act, much of which also went into effect Oct. 1. House Republicans want it delayed for a year or even repealed. Senate Democrats want it to be a separate issue from funding the federal government.
Edison Intermediate Middle School principal Bob Baeslack said he would like to believe the matter would be resolved before students leave for the three-day trip Oct. 24.
"If the government is still shut down at that time, we may have to rearrange the itinerary or we may have to postpone the trip and reschedule it for later," he said. "I've spoken with the student travel agency handling our trip, and they have some schools going to Washington, D.C., this week. They've had to rearrange the itinerary for those schools."
The trip to Washington is an eighth-grade tradition in Grandview. Typically, Grandview students begin their trip with a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield, Baeslack said. Though the memorials at the battlefield are open, no park rangers are on duty during the shutdown.
Other sites the students are scheduled to visit, including the Capitol, Smithsonian Institution and the Holocaust Museum, are all closed because of the shutdown, he said.
"It's kind of up in the air what we will do (if government facilities remain closed), but at this point, we're still planning on taking the trip," Baeslack said. "We may have to find other things for the students to do that are open. Hopefully, everything will be resolved by the 24th."