WJ response to elongated government shutdown

The D.C. Metropolitan area is home to thousands of federal employees affected by the shutdown. Many of whom, are parents of students at WJ.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The D.C. Metropolitan area is home to thousands of federal employees affected by the shutdown. Many of whom, are parents of students at WJ.

In the 2018-2019 35 day government shutdown, millions of people felt negative effects and many WJ students were among them. Even though the federal government will be reopened for the next three weeks, during the time of the shutdown thousands of federal employees either worked without pay or didn’t work at all.

Maryland was among the states most impacted by the government shutdown. Since the state directly borders D.C., it also has one of the highest share of federal jobs. It’s not uncommon to find a student who has a parent working for the federal government; senior Kaitlin Nachtrieb is one of them.
“My father didn’t go to work for the entirety of the shutdown,” Nachtrieb said. “My parents didn’t seem very worried at first, but the longer it went on, I could tell they were getting a little stressed.”

The 2018-2019 government shutdown became the longest shutdown in US history on January 12 when it surpassed the 21 day shutdown in 1995-1996. In that time span, many government employees were stressed about when they would go back to work and when their next paycheck would come.
“Not knowing when my dad’s next paycheck would be coming was extremely frustrating and scary for [my parents],” senior Krithi Sriram said.

“My parents were encouraging me and my brother to spend less. My family’s big spring break [trip] to Florida was also on hold for a while.”

Many families struggled to adjust to the impacts of the government shutdown and those on the other side offered to help. MCPS held an employment open house for furloughed federal employees and contractors on January 15 and January 18, where attendees were allowed to interview and apply for open positions in the school system like substitute teachers and maintenance staff. MCPS is also providing meals for students impacted by the shutdown through the Dine with Dignity program that was launched in November 2018.

“We are committed to supporting our community members affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown,” Montgomery County Superintendent Jack Smith said in a statement. “From our previously established Dine with Dignity meal program to our upcoming employment open houses, we hope to provide continued support and to be a valuable resource to the furloughed families in our county.”

Many local restaurants offered help to impacted families. &Pizza offered free pizza at any location from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Jinya Ramen Bar, in certain locations, had a half priced happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.