Fairfax Co. seeks to open schools before Labor Day in 2017-2018

WASHINGTON — Public schools in Fairfax County may soon break the long-standing tradition of opening after Labor Day.

Fairfax County Public Schools announced Thursday that they’ve directed Supt. Karen K. Garza to draft a calendar for the 2017-18 school year that begins classes on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

The so-called Kings Dominion Law, passed in 1986, requires Virginia schools to start after Labor Day. The intent is to boost the region’s tourism industry, and give students who work in that industry a chance to work through the traditional end of summer.

But Fairfax County Public Schools announced in February that they had qualified for a waiver to the law, because the system was closed for snow and other events for an average of 8.4 days in 5 of the past 10 years — over the law’s threshold of 8 days.

The school department said in a statement that the change to the school calendar would “provide more instructional time before winter break [and] enhanced flexibility to help students and school staff members meet college application deadlines, and to end the school year earlier in June.”

They add that they’ll consider input from parents, workers and the community before they finalize the calendar; the school board will probably vote on it in late fall.

The first day of the 2016-2017 school year will be Sept. 6.

The waiver to the King’s Dominion Law is good through at least the 2019-2020 school year, the school department says.


Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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