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Poll: Are You Happy About School Starting in August Next Year?

by Jennifer van der Kleut December 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm 8 Comments

FCPS busLast week, the Fairfax County School Board approved an August start date for the next school year, marking the first time in decades that area schools will start before Labor Day.

That means school will also let out earlier next year on June 15. In past years, students have gone to class as late as June 25.

Outgoing FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza said earlier this year the change is being made to provide more instructional time before winter break, provide enhanced flexibility to help students and school staff members meet college application deadlines and to end the school year earlier in June.

Additionally, some FCPS parents have said they are glad for the change because letting out earlier in June will afford their children better summer internship and enrichment opportunities.

However, many families have expressed dismay over the decision, citing a number of reasons:

‘Traditional’ summer vacation — In a poll issued to FCPS families prior to the school board’s vote, 84 percent of those against the earlier start date said they preferred a “traditional” summer vacation schedule, giving kids all of August off before starting school in September. Others said it made no sense to them to start school before Labor Day when right away in the second week of school, they have a day off to observe the Labor Day holiday. Sixty-four percent of families said the new schedule would disrupt long-held vacation plans.

Shortening of summer/temporary status of waiver  Twenty-eight percent of families against the earlier start date pointed out that the waiver from the state, allowing FCPS to start school before Labor Day — which has long been mandated via the 1986 “King’s Dominion Rule” — is temporary, only allowing the district to start school in August through the 2019-20 school year. Many parents said they did not support the earlier start date if it is going to be temporary, especially if they would have to switch back again in a few years once the waiver expired.

Others pointed out that, in the first year of implementation, their children are losing a week of summer vacation with the early start.

Hot temperatures in August  Many parents say they are worried about students being in hot, under-air-conditioned classrooms in summer temperatures that are often in the 90s.

What do you think of the new August start date? Vote in our poll and leave your comments below letting us know why you voted the way you did.

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  • Concerned Parent

    My special needs child gets summer school and bridge services as part of her IEP. Usually this all ends the week before school starts. An earlier start means she now finishes summer school just as the regular school year is starting. Special Needs children need a summer break too.

  • CrosseyedAndPainless

    I’m not really unhappy about the change in the school hours, but I am rather unhappy about the voting problem. Millions of Trump supporters voted twice on Nov 8, swinging the vote count in crucial swing states and costing Hillary Clinton the election.
    Facts just twist the truth around.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      I hear that he’s running a child sex ring out of Comet Ping Pong in DC. Somebody should go investigate that.

  • B Rita

    No, I am not happy about school starting in August.

  • Greg

    Dumbest thing ever. Moving the date ahead a week.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    For early grades:
    * It doesn’t make a lot of difference other than it being very inconvenient to have most summer camps start and end a week or two earlier than works with our school system.

    For high-schoolers and high-school families, it makes a lot of difference:
    * Summer programs and classes – particularly those on college campuses – often have an early and a late session, or multiple sessions. The early/earliest one usually starts while we’re still in school. There’s very little if anything in mid-to-late August, so you have to cram everything into July and the first week or so of August (and kids in marching band or sports really can’t do anything other than that activity in August).
    * Teachers and counselors are slammed with transcript and recommendation requests in the fall.

    All school kids these days, but particularly middle-school and older kids:
    * SOLs, SATs, ACTs, APs, and other test are all on an earlier schedule than we are, meaning the kids who start after Labor Day are at a disadvantage when scheduling them and also when learning the info that will be on them. We end up with weeks at the end of the school year in which a few teachers keep going with advanced material and others give the kids busywork. This affects all grades these days.
    * Neighborhood pools usually run about Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, so that’s kind of a toss-up – although swim leagues are usually June thru mid-July, which overlaps with the end of school.

    Colleges tend to start sometime in August to the beginning of September and usually end in mid-to-late May. We are WAY off from that general schedule if we aren’t ending until the last week or so of June.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      It also means more expensive and shorter vacations. If you usually take your vacation the week before Labor day so that you can get that extra day off, well, that just disappeared. Your only 3 day weekend during the summer will now be Independence Day, instead of Independence Day and Labor Day.

  • Umbreon211

    If you haven’t notice that august is in summer and the heat is getting hotter because of global warming kids can’t be left with hot air and the cost for cooling down and if you’ve been in very hot summer you know that the wind is warm and not cool and if the school need money for the coolers they’ll probably just increase lunch prices and some people can’t afford that and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be hard to do yard sales because some people don’t go out when it’s really hot.

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