Students in Maryland school system to be off on Muslim holiday — and Lunar New Year

Elected officials in the Washington suburbs adopted an academic calendar for next school year that gives students a day off on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a move that followed the resolution of a possible conflict with Advanced Placement testing.

The calendar for 2020-2021 in Montgomery County, passed Tuesday by the county school board, designates May 13 as a teacher professional day so that students can be out of classes for the Islamic holy day.

Helping to clear the way was a decision by the College Board to create extra testing options: Advanced Placement tests planned for May 13 would be given a second time, on May 18, to support students observing the holiday, College Board officials said in November as the issue flared.

At recent school board meetings, Muslim parents and students had pressed for the day off, citing the holiday’s importance and issues of fairness.

Students in Montgomery — home to Maryland's largest school system, with an enrollment of more than 165,000 — are off for two Jewish holidays and a string of days around Christmas and Easter.

“This is a big victory for our students,” said Samira Hussein, a longtime advocate on the issue. “They will feel accepted and acknowledged by their teachers, their Board of Education, and their superintendent.”


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