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Baltimore County Public Schools May Remove Jewish Holidays From Calendar

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Students, parents, and teachers in Baltimore County could see two holidays wiped off the school calendar for the first time in 20 years. The school board is considering keeping doors open for the Jewish High Holidays.

Kimberly Eiten has more on what it could mean for students.

Schools are feeling the crunch of later start dates in Maryland and in order to do so, they're considering removing holidays that have been on the calendar for decades. Jewish High Holidays, including the first day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, both fall on school days in 2018.

"It's likely to be a lost day of learning in a lot of areas in the county," says Howard Libit with the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Schools should expect empty desks and absent teachers, with those Jewish students and staff staying home to attend synagogue.

"The cost to opening the schools, in terms of subs, in terms of dollars to find those subs, in terms of principals who might be off, in terms of the lost learning, we don't think it makes up for getting a little flexibility in timing," says Libit.

The calendar is now threatened by the later start date in Maryland that went into effect this year, with state public schools now feeling the crunch.

Many say wiping the two holidays off the calendar, would give students an extra day off at spring break, and put an additional day in the bank in case of bad weather.

Baltimore County Public school administrators wrote to WJZ Monday:

"The school board has not made a decision on either option as there are two more readers that will allow community input."

There will be a school board meeting next week and is open to discussion on the proposed changes.

The Jewish Council estimates as many as 1,500 teachers in Baltimore County Public Schools are Jewish and may choose to stay home on the holidays, even is school are open.

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