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Montgomery Schools May Once Again Open Before Labor Day

According to Montgomery County education officials, two of three calendar options under consideration for the 2020-2021 school year include a pre-Labor Day start.

Labor Day next year is Monday, Sept. 7.

“Because Labor Day is so late, we can actually start in September and still start before Labor Day,” said Essie McGuire, executive director of the school system’s office of the chief operating officer.

The three calendar options include start dates of Aug. 31, Sept. 1 or Sept. 8. They have end dates of June 11, June 16 and June 21 in 2021, respectively.

“In all of the calendar scenarios that we’re putting forward — they all reflect the typical, full spring break that MCPS has traditionally observed,” said McGuire.

Including weekends, the county’s spring break is usually 10 days long. However, it was shortened to six days in the 2018-2019 school year.

Patricia O’Neill, the vice president of the county’s board of education, said she supports a pre-Labor Day start in part because the year ends earlier.

“I personally believe that ending earlier in June is a better scenario,” O’Neill said. “I find that our kids really hit the ground running at the start of the school year and everything’s in wrap up mode when you get to June.”

Montgomery County classes have not started before Labor Day since 2016, when Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) issued an executive order mandating that public schools statewide start after Labor Day, saying it would benefit families, businesses and the state’s tourism industry.

State lawmakers voted in March to scrap that order, claiming that individual school districts know best what works for their communities and should have local control restored to boards of education.

Hogan called that decision “politics at its worst” made by “out-of-touch politicians and special interests.”

The county’s board of education plans to continue discussing the calendar options next month.

As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Nick Iannelli. Click here for the WTOP News website.

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Montgomery Schools May Once Again Open Before Labor Day