The Loudoun County School Board adjusted the 2019-2020 school year calendar during its Tuesday night meeting following recent legislation out of Richmond.
The board originally approved the 2019-20 calendar on Dec. 11. That calendar, which had school starting on Aug. 22 and ending on June 9, included two weeks of Winter Break.
School will still start on Aug. 22 for the 2019-2020 school year, according to the school system's online calendar.
Previously, school districts had to apply for a waiver to start school before Labor Day weekend in September. During its 2019 session, Virginia’s General Assembly approved a bill providing school divisions with additional flexibility in choosing their opening date and did away with the waiver, LCPS staff said.
Joy Maloney (Broad Run District) said she is happy the bill passed, because now Loudoun will be able to consistently set its calendar without waiting to see if the waiver is approved.
However, the bill also called for students to have a four-day weekend for Labor Day, from Friday through Monday, affecting LCPS’ approved calendar.
LCPS staff proposed the board make Aug. 30 a school holiday per the new law and to make up the missed day by extending the school year by one day to June 10, 2020. Winter break would be unaffected, and 2020 graduate dates will be scheduled around the new calendar, LCPS staff said.
The board heard the update on the calendar as an information item and voted to suspend the rules in order to vote on the matter Tuesday.
Debbie Rose (Algonkian District) asked staff if it had considered using one of the 15 built-in snow days to cover the missed day instead of extending the school year, since all 15 days are rarely used. Superintendent Eric Williams said staff did not consider the option.
“It may not have been the pattern that we use all of the built-in days, [but] wouldn’t it be our luck if this would be the year that that would happen?” Eric Hornberger (Ashburn District) said.
Hornberger also said it’s been “a long-standing practice” for LCPS to have 180-day school years.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the new calendar, with Vice Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) absent for the vote.
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that school starts on Aug. 22 for the 2019-2020 school year.