BALTIMORE (WJZ)– This week, the Baltimore County school board is expected to decide whether to keep school open on two of the holy days in the Jewish calendar.
The vote is expected to be made on Tuesday. That’s according to our news partners at The Baltimore Sun.
If board members decide to do this, it would be the first time in almost 20 years that students would be required to attend school on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on September 9 and Yom Kippur begins on September 18 at sundown.
One school board member calls the issue an economic one. David Uhlfelder says it will cost the school system between $300,000 and $500,000 to pay for the substitute teachers that would be needed to fill in for Jewish teachers who took the days off.
If the Baltmiore County school board decides to close school on Jewish holidays, spring break would run from Good Friday through Easter Monday. If the board votes to keep the schools open, a day would be added to spring break. This means students would get the Thursday before Good Friday off.
The move comes as school districts across Maryland are creating calendars that begin after Labor Day and end by June 15th. These requirements were set last year by Governor Larry Hogan.
The Supreme Court has also ruled that schools cannot close for religious reasons, but can clsoe on religious holidays if widespread absences would make it difficult to operate efficiently.
State law requires schools to be open for a certain number of days an hours each year. Because Baltimore County’s school days are shorter than other districts’, the district must be open for more days.