I’m writing to share with you news that the first day of school in the 2021–2022 academic year will be September 7. This of course coincides with the first day of Rosh Hashanah, marking the Jewish New Year, the beginning of the holiest time of the year for the Jewish people.
As our School Board and the community determined that we will not start school before Labor Day, we have a limited number of days in which to meet the state requirement of instructional time. However, I recognize that we have many Jewish students, educators and administrators in our division who will be forced to prioritize education or religion by deciding whether to attend the first day or two of their school year.
I understand that choosing between religious observance and attending the first day of school is not an easy one. I would therefore like to remind the community that religious holidays are excused absences for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
We strive to meet the religious and spiritual needs of our students whenever possible, and we will continue to work with staff, parents and community leaders to acknowledge and respect all holidays that impact our families. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron C. Spence, Ed.D.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools