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Back to school: Classes start for some Alexandria City Public Schools students

Thursday - 8/1/2013, 10:02am  ET

WASHINGTON - For some families, the back-to-school shopping season has barely begun. But Thursday marks the beginning of a new school year for some Alexandria City Public Schools students.

The school year began Thursday for 1,500 students at modified calendar schools in Alexandria City Public Schools. The students at Samuel Tucker Elementary in the Van Dorn, Picket Street area and Mount Vernon Community School in Del Ray began classes at 8 a.m. after a six-week summer break.

The rest of the Alexandria City Public Schools system heads back to class Sept. 3.

The two schools will have two-week vacations in October and April along with holiday breaks. The schools offer some classes over the breaks so kids can beef up on the basics or take enrichment classes.

Studies show children on year round school schedules remember more of what they learn, especially in reading and math.

Most schools in Virginia are covered by the so-called "Kings Dominion Law" that dictates school systems don't resume classes until after Labor Day unless granted waivers. The law is an effort to support tourism.

In Maryland and DC, students typically go back to school the last week of August.

The Prince George's County Public Schools' year begins Aug. 19. School begins for District of Columbia Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools and Charles County Public Schools on Aug. 26. Among public school systems gearing up for a Sept. 3 start are Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Virginia's sales tax holiday for back-to-school shopping begins Friday. Maryland's tax-free week will run from Sunday, Aug. 11 to Saturday, Aug. 17.

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Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the start of the Virginia sales tax holiday. We regret the error.

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