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School Board to Vote Tonight on Pre-Labor Day Start

After an extended period of contemplation, which led to some parent complaints, the Arlington School Board is set to vote on the 2020-2021 school calendar tonight.

Arlington Public Schools has been considering a pre-Labor Day start after state law changed last year to allow it. Since then, the neighboring jurisdictions of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County have approved pre-Labor Day start date — between Aug. 24-27 — for the next school year.

Among suburban Northern Virginia public school systems, only Alexandria is sticking with a post-Labor Day start date of Sept. 8, at least for now.

Seeking to balance the desires of parents to keep their late summer vacation plans, and those who want school to start earlier, Arlington’s interim superintendent is recommending a Monday, Aug. 31 start date, followed four days later by a four-day Labor Day break, from Friday to Monday.

The superintendent’s recommendation calls for a June 16 last day of school for high school students and a June 18 last day for elementary and middle school students.

The proposed calendar also calls for a two-week winter break, a one-week spring break, three weekdays off for Thanksgiving break, Columbus Day and Veterans Day off, and no school on Election Day in November, which will be a telework “grade prep” day for teachers, among other off days.

A staff presentation released ahead of Thursday night’s School Board meeting refers to 2020-2021 as a “transition year,” perhaps paving the way for an earlier start date in future years.

The presentation also gives the School Board the option of voting on a school calendar with a post-Labor Day start, on Sept. 8, and a June 23-25 last day of school.

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