Henrico, Va. June 9, 2021 — Henrico County Public Schools is considering the option of beginning the 2022-23 school year before Labor Day, and is seeking feedback about the idea. In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly voted to allow school divisions to open before Labor Day, and increasing numbers of school systems are opting for, or considering, the earlier start.
An HCPS proposal under consideration would add the flexibility for new holidays and observances during the school year, while still meeting or exceeding the state standards for student learning time. If the idea were to be adopted, the 2022-23 school year would start Aug. 29, 2022 and end June 16, 2023. It would have no effect on the upcoming 2021-22 school year, which starts Sept. 8.
Among its possible advantages, an earlier start date for 2022-23 would:
- Create additional employee holidays throughout the 2022-23 school year for religious observances (currently, some religious observances are only student holidays).
- Keep the typical number of “school days” but allow HCPS the flexibility to add new religious and/or cultural observances for staff and students while still meeting or exceeding the state standards for student learning time.
- Provide additional planning, professional learning and collaboration time for teachers within schools and/or school feeder patterns.
Better align HCPS with the pre-Labor Day starts of neighboring school divisions.
HCPS administrators will elaborate on the proposal at the next public School Board meeting, to be held June 24.
After that, the HCPS Calendar Committee will finalize detailed options of the full 2022-23 calendar for employee and public review. The School Board will also be asked to consider the traditional post-Labor Day start in 2022-23.
A final decision about the 2022-23 start date won’t be made until August at the earliest.
This summer, HCPS intends to schedule virtual informational meetings for families and employees to learn more, give feedback and ask questions. Recordings of these sessions, along with additional details and information, will be made available at www.henricoschools.us, emailed directly to employees and student households, and posted to HCPS social media. Families, employees and others can also use a form to share written comments about the proposal by going to https://forms.gle/i8Xw4rimocupFHPR9. Comments will be shared with the School Board and other HCPS leaders and should be considered public.
Henrico is one of several central Virginia school divisions that is either considering a pre-Labor Day start or has already adopted the change. In March of 2020, HCPS publicly introduced the idea of a pre-Labor Day start for the 2021-22 school year, but the effort was postponed when the COVID-19 pandemic developed.