School Board proposes four versions of a 2023-2024 calendar


The Fairfax County School Board proposed four versions of a potential 2023-2024 school year calendar with various time frames for the first day of school, the length of winter break, and the number of instructional days.

Anya Raval, Team Leader

The Fairfax County School Board proposed four versions of a calendar for the 2023-2024 school year: blue, orange, green, and purple. According to federal and state law, each school year must have 180 days, or 990 hours, of instructional time. The calendar must follow the School Board and superintendent’s priorities for the calendar.

For the School Board, top priorities include a schedule that is consistent, follows guidelines, and includes religious holidays. Furthermore, the Fairfax County School Board takes into account the schedules of the surrounding counties such as Loudoun, Prince William, and Arlington counties.

As part of the decision-making process, data was collected from the current school year calendar from staff, students, and parents. The first set of data was the absences of students and staff from selected religious observance days and those honored by neighboring school districts. Secondly, there were surveys conducted throughout the county outlining the priorities of various groups and feedback on the current school year. Generally, most groups favored this year’s school calendar with school starting two weeks prior to Labor Day, and longer fixed spring and winter breaks. However, extending the school year was not favored by students, staff, and parents. 

There are currently four proposed versions of a potential calendar for the upcoming school year. The key difference is the time frame for the first day of school, the length of winter break, and the number of instructional days. The blue version marks the first day of school as Aug. 21, two weeks prior to labor day, and the last day for June 14. This version also had 26 five-day weeks during the year, with winter break being two weeks and one day. 

The orange option is similar to the blue version with the exception of the length of winter break and the last day of school. Despite still being a full 26 weeks of school, winter break would be eight days long with school ending on June 11, three days earlier than the proposed blue calendar. 

The purple calendar follows a very similar schedule to the blue and orange calendar but ends on June 13, with only 177 instructional days and 25 full weeks of school. 

Lastly, the green option would allow the school year to start one week before labor day. However, in order to meet the instructional hour requirements, winter break would be eight days long and the school year would end on June 20. 

A survey was sent out allowing the community to give feedback about the four proposed calendars until the end of January 2023. The data and feedback will then be reviewed by the School Board and the final proposed calendar will be voted on at a school board meeting on Feb. 9 for the upcoming school year.