The FCPS School Board approved the 2015-16 school year calendar late last week. The calendar has a school start the second week of September because of a late Labor Day this year (Sept.7).
The school board had prepared an alternate calendar in mid-March, just in case the school system used an 11th snow day this year (it did not). FCPS officials said then if the system had one more day of school cancelled this year due to inclement weather or an emergency situation the district could apply to the state for a waiver, allowing FCPS to begin school the week prior to Labor Day.
In order to apply for a waiver in Virginia, a school district needs to average eight full days of school lost due to inclement weather, energy shortages, power failures, or other emergency situations in five of the previous 10 years.
FCPS students missed four days during the 2006-07 school year; 10 days during the 2009-10 school year; four days during the 2010-11 school year; 11 days during the 2013-14 school year; and 10 days during the current school year.
Since the 1980s, FCPS has been under Virginia’s “Kings Dominion” law, a 1986 Virginia statute that mandates school start in September. When the law was passed, it was helped along by the tourism industry, which said it needed students as staffers (and families to keep on vacationing) through Labor Day.
Other details for 2015-16:
Thursday, June 23, 2016, is the last day.
Student holidays are planned for the following: teacher workdays on Nov. 2; February 5, 2016; and April 22, 2016; a staff development day on Jan. 19, 2016; and school planning days on Oct. 9; Nov. 3; and March 28, 2016.
Students will be released two hours early on the following days: Oct. 30, Nov. 25; Dec. 18; Feb. 4, 2016; April 21, 2016; and June 23, 2016.
Winter break is Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, 2016, and spring break will be held March 21-25, 2016.
Makeup days may be used to ensure 990 hours of instruction during the 2015-16 school year, says FCPS. Missed days, delayed openings, and unscheduled early dismissals are considered in the calculation of these hours. FCPS has the equivalent of 13 days (78 hours) built into the 2015-16 calendar. If a 14th day is missed, no makeup is required by the state. If a 15th day is missed, April 22, 2016 will be considered a makeup day.