Fairfax County Public School board voted on Jan. 27 to adopt a calendar for the 2022-23 school year that brings the county into line with area school districts that close on three “minority-faith” holidays.
The new calendar will have closures on Yom Kippur, Eid-al-Fitr and Diwali, as well as professional days on Orthodox Good Friday, Veteran’s Day and the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, which had supported the minority-faith calendar, called the vote “a game-changer.”
“It will have an immediate, dramatic impact on [the county’s] Jewish students and employees, as well as those of other minority faiths, who for the first time will feel that they have been truly seen and heard,” she said in a statement.
A JCRC survey taken last October found that the school district’s previous “O” calendar was causing issues for Jewish students and employees. The informal survey, as well as community involvement was an “important part in developing the 2022-23 calendar,” the board said on the Fairfax County website.
The vote was taken on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Franklin Siegel said that fact “reminds us that all hatred and bigotry has its roots in the othering of minority groups in our midst.”
She added, “The calendar adopted tonight sends a powerful message that such marginalization and discrimination have no place in Fairfax County schools, and that people of all backgrounds and identities must be treated with respect, dignity, and empathy. “