Howard County votes to close schools for Muslim, Asian, and Hindu holidays

- The Howard County Board of Education voted Thursday to expand its calendar to include three Muslim, Asian, and Hindu holidays.

Beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year, schools will close for Eid Al-Adha - a Muslim feast day, Lunar New Year Eve - an Asian holiday, and Diwali - a Hindu holiday.

The Board also voted to unanimously continue with the current practice of schools and offices being closed on mandated state holidays, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah.

"I am extremely pleased by the Board’s ability to discuss and unanimously agree to seek ways to recognize the diverse backgrounds of Howard County's students and families," said Board Chair Christine O’Connor in a press release.

"We want to do our best to find flexibility within the calendar to provide opportunities for all students to experience all cultures within our community," she continued.

School officials say the 2017-2018 Academic Calendar Committee has already begun to meet and includes representation from the Jewish Federation of Howard County, the Howard County Muslim Council, the Hindu community, and the Chinese American Parent Association.

The 2016-2017 school year is scheduled to begin for students on August 29, 2016 and would end on June 13, 2017.

It is unclear if additional days would be added to the calendar to accommodate the additional holidays.

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