Traditional first day of school coincides with Jewish high holy day in 2021
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Rosh Hashanah, one of Judaism’s two most important holy days, falls on Sept. 6-8 this year. Sept. 7 is also the Tuesday after Labor Day, the traditional first day of school for many districts.
“This is like having school on Christmas or Easter,” said Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward. The Beaverton Democrat is asking schools to reconsider their first day of school to provide equitable access for all students.
OSBA is also urging districts to avoid starting classes Sept. 7, Executive Director Jim Green said.
Starting Sept. 7 would force Jewish families to choose between religious observance and the socially and emotionally important first day in school after the disrupted pandemic year.
“Asking them to be different on the first day of school, on a school year like this one, doesn’t seem like a good idea to me,” said Steiner Hayward.
Teachers would also be put in the difficult position of choosing between working on a sacred day or asking for a substitute on the crucial first day.