MCPS approved its 2020-2021 school year calendar, which includes inauguration day, newly observed holidays, and a longer spring break. For the first time since 2016, the school year will begin before Labor Day, after the Maryland General Assembly overruled Gov. Larry Hogan’s controversial 2016 mandate.
The thought of starting before Labor Day is a plus for teachers, especially those who teach AP classes, due to all AP tests being set at the beginning of May, no matter when the school year starts.
“If you’re an AP student and you’re going to take an AP test in May, the worst thing we can do is start after the holiday because you’re losing all that time,” said social studies teacher Kyle Landefeld. “You need to realize that we’re competing with schools in Florida that start at the beginning of August, which means those kids have five weeks on you guys.”
Practice for fall sports also begins before school starts, providing another reason why some prefer starting the school year earlier.
“I’m a coach, so since we’re back practicing, why not be back in school,” said Landefeld.
The county has also planned for professional days on important holidays, such as Eid al-Fitr which concludes Ramadan, after members of the Muslim community testified urging schools to be closed on Eid at a school board meeting in October.
“I’m very happy because normally every other religion gets their holidays off, like Christians and Jews. It’s frustrating when I do have to miss [school], and so many people miss it,” said junior Duaa Emira. “So now it makes me happy because I won’t have to miss school for anything and I get a day off where I can just relax and not worry about what I have to make up the next day.”
Another holiday that was also assigned a professional day was the Lunar New Year, which is widely celebrated amongst most East Asian cultures.
“It’s always nice to celebrate a bit of culture. After all, America is the melting pot,” said sophomore Megan Lam.
Many students and teachers alike prefer the new calendar which is more accommodating to AP tests and holidays, as well as a longer spring break consisting of ten days.
“I think it’s a pretty reasonable sacrifice [to start before Labor Day] especially if we get our holiday off and a longer spring break,” said Emira. “It’ll all tie together and work really well.”