Fairfax County Public Schools 2021-2022 Calendar
Several months ago FCPS released two proposed calendar options for the 2021-2022 academic year that for the first time included school closures on days coinciding with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Eid and Diwali (Calendar Option A and Calendar Option B). Last week, the School Board, without any meaningful advance notice, added a third calendar option for consideration (Calendar Option C), which does not include any of the four recommended closure days. On March 2nd the board directed FCPS staff to develop a 4th option for its consideration, which may or may not include these days off.
The JCRC, along with many coalition partners and allies throughout Fairfax County, strongly objects to both the process and substance of the Board’s actions. It is long past time for the Fairfax School Board to join its counterparts in Loudoun, Arlington, and Prince William counties in addressing the unfair disadvantages experienced by minority-faith students and staff, by adopting a school calendar that reflects the rich diversity of our community.
Click here to take action now and email the FCPS school board asking them to support an FCPS school calendar that reflects Fairfax County's rich diversity.
March 18, 2021 Fairfax NAACP Statement of FCPS 2020-2021 Calendar
The Fairfax County NAACP urges the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board and FCPS Administration to adopt a 2021-22 Standard School Year calendar that recognizes the religious and ethnic diversity of the student body and their families and takes into account the concerns of faculty and staff.
March 17, 2021 Interfaith Letter
The JCRC and its interfaith coalition partners sent a public letter to the FCPS board reinforcing that a vote against closures coinciding with select minority faith holidays will be a grave error. Click here to read the letter in its entirety.
Interfaith Sign on Letter
If you are a member of the clergy or represent a faith community/religious organization and would like to sign on to the interfaith clergy and community leaders letter being sent to the FCPS School board, click here.
February 9 Religious Observances Task Force Members Response Letter to Fairfax County School Board
Click here to read the letter.
In The News
"Guila Franklin Siegel, the associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, said that at least 1,000 Fairfax County residents have also emailed their school-board representatives demanding a calendar change. She noted that the Jewish population in northern Virginia, which includes Fairfax, had swelled by 80% between 2003 and 2017, and said that Hindu and Muslim populations in the district have “dramatically increased” as well."
Not every student is Christian. So why don’t all school districts recognize that?
The Washington Post, 3/4/21
"Jewish and Muslim parents of Fairfax County kids joined a task force created by the school board to address the issue, after years of Jews and Muslims trying to explain to teachers how having school on Rosh Hashanah or Eid al-Fitr is like school on Christmas."
- Opinion: Fairfax County’s school board is sowing division. Students of minority faiths deserve better.
The Washington Post, 2/26/2021
"For years, members of minority faiths within FCPS have felt marginalized and disadvantaged because of their religious identity and observance. Students face review days or classroom tests on Diwali; assessment tests scheduled during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; and assignments due on or the day after Eid al-Fitr. Teachers and staff are forced to take personal days to observe or, worse, feel unable to take those days at all."
- Group pushes for recognition of minority religions in Fairfax County school calendar
ABC7 WJLA, 2/22/2021
"Last year, the school board created a task force to find options for a new calendar that would reflect the growing religious diversity in Northern Virginia. The task force proposed two options, which would have closed school on days coinciding with four Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh observances."
- Faith leaders criticize Fairfax school board for delaying vote on adding four religious holidays to calendar
Washington Post, 2/10/2021
"In a letter sent to the board Tuesday, seven D.C.-area faith groups — all of which sent representatives to serve on Fairfax’s Religious Observance Task Force — wrote that the delay had caused “deep disappointment [for] thousands of Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs” in the county.
“Our minority-faith community members are left to conclude that after investing in a nearly 18-month process they trusted, one which was initiated by the Board itself, their voices are still being ignored,” reads the letter, which was signed by the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, the Durga Temple of Virginia, the Hindu American Foundation, the McLean Islamic Center, the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, the Sikh Foundation of Virginia and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington."
"The Fairfax County School Board is considering adding four new days off to the 2021-2022 school calendar, to coincide with diverse religious holidays. But the effects of COVID-19 may delay the Virginia school system’s plans — at least, temporarily.
Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said her organization and others represented on the task force were not notified that a third option had been proposed...”We were very, very shocked and disappointed,’ she said."
Interfaith community members are disappointed in Fairfax County Public schools not having religious holidays in their school calendar.
“Both of the drafts included closures on the days that coincide with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Eid, and Diwali, and without any notice, the board included a third option that does not include those days off,” said Franklin-Siegel.