VBCPS starting school before Labor Day
The purpose of this survey is to learn more about the perceptions of the VBCPS community regarding starting school before the Labor Day holiday.
The General Assembly passed new legislation amending provisions in the Code of Virginia regarding the setting of school calendars and the first day that students may be required to attend school. Accordingly, it is no longer necessary for school divisions to seek waivers to begin the school year prior to Labor Day.
We are asking the community to weigh in on whether they prefer a pre-Labor Day start or would like to keep the start of school post-Labor Day.
After the survey is completed, a calendar workgroup will come together with survey data along with the considerations below. Options will then be presented to the School Board for evaluation.
Please view the video to the right or the FAQs and slides below for additional information.
FAQs for pre-Labor Day start
Is there a benefit to starting pre-Labor Day for VB Schools students?
Yes, starting school pre-Labor Day would allow our students to have several extra weeks in the classroom prior to the start of Standards of Learning (SOL) testing, Advanced Placement (AP) testing, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and International Baccalaureate (IB) testing. Allowing students to have these extra weeks in the classroom would align with divisions in Northern Virginia and West of I-95, Washington D.C., and most other parts of the country. Currently, VBCPS students are not afforded the same pre-testing preparation time that many other students receive.
Would school end earlier in the year or would we still get out mid-June?
If the decision were made to move forward with starting school pre-Labor Day, that would allow us more flexibility with the calendar in general. We would be able to end the school year earlier. While this would depend upon how much earlier school starts before Labor Day, we could potentially end the school year in late May or early June.
What about holiday breaks? Is there any benefit to starting earlier for our breaks?
As noted above, starting earlier would allow us to have a more flexible calendar during the year, leading to opportunities for longer holiday breaks for students and their families as well as more flexibility around staff days, inclement weather and more.
If we do this, will it start next year?
The Board ultimately would make this decision, but the calendar could be developed to phase this in as late as the 2021-2022 school year.
Tourism is a huge part of Virginia Beach’s economy. Can a pre-Labor Day start be successful in a tourist area without hindering the tourism?
We acknowledge and value the important role the hospitality industry plays in our community. We acknowledge and appreciate that this industry would prefer to keep the calendar as it is. We note also that by moving to a pre-Labor Day start, this would place Virginia Beach City Public Schools calendar more in line with the other large tourist destinations on the East Coast, including Wilmington and Dare County, North Carolina, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Orlando, Florida, who all start pre-Labor Day. It’s unclear the impact that this decision will have on tourism in Virginia Beach, as much of the rest of the state and the surrounding states’ schools already start before Labor Day. Nonetheless, this remains an important consideration for the Board in this decision.
Who would ultimately make the decision to start pre-Labor Day?
After hearing feedback from the community, the School Board will vote on whether or not to start school before Labor Day. After this vote, a calendar workgroup will be convened. As in the past, this group will work to formulate several calendar options, which would then be posted online and allow for community feedback. These would include different start and end dates as well as starting in different years. Once feedback is gathered, the Board will then vote to finalize the calendar. The calendar workgroup is comprised of parents, VBCPS staff members, students and community members.
Are there any reasons not to do this?
As noted above, the Virginia Beach hospitality industry prefers our school start date to remain post-Labor Day. VBCPS understands how important the industry is to our community.
It’s also important that we remain aligned with other school divisions in the region, as we share decision-making in regional schools (e.g., the Governors School for the Arts), our teams compete against one another at both the beginning and end of the school year and our employees often live across city lines.
Given this extra context, I would like to change my response on the survey, can I do that?
Yes, to change your response, open the survey on the computer or mobile device on which you originally took the survey. While on the main page, scroll down to “Your Response” and select the “Edit Your Response” button. This will reopen the survey and allow you to update or change your response. Once you finalize your answer to the survey, select “Next” at the bottom of the page. If the responses on the page are correct, please select “Make Changes” to close survey.