Minneapolis Public Schools board of education voted unanimously to make Friday, April 21 a no school day for students. The resolution was a last minute addition to the agenda at the April 11 board meeting. The board suggested using June 16 as a makeup day for students who would be under the state required minimum instructional hours and minutes due to the change in schedule.
Families were notified of the change on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 12 by text, email or phone call, depending on their preferred communication method. This is the second time this school year the board has modified the calendar. The first was to add January 2 as a holiday. Abrupt calendar changes are especially challenging for district families of younger students who have to find childcare on short notice.
Last February, the board of education approved a new calendar that would recognize significant Jewish and Muslim holidays. The intention was to create a calendar reflecting the district’s values of inclusion. The Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims, is one of the holidays the district intended as a day off. The timing of the holiday is based on the lunar calendar. The exact date is determined when religious authorities view the new moon. Depending on the traditions of each community, the exact date on the Gregorian calendar may vary.
Minneapolis Public Schools appears to have assumed the holiday would fall on Saturday, April 22, and did not schedule a school day off in 2023 for the holiday. However, the holiday will fall on Friday, April 21, which is why the board took up the resolution to modify the calendar.
According to the district’s published calendar for the 2023-24 school year, Wednesday, April 10, 2024 appears to be scheduled as a day off to correspond to the Eid al-Fitr holiday next year. In 2025, Eid al-Fitr is expected to fall on March 31. Students are scheduled to be on Spring Break from March 28 until April 6, 2025. Because the date of the holiday cannot be known exactly in advance, it is possible the calendar could be modified in subsequent years, too.
Complicating the change this year are two state requirements. First, the district cannot use more than five e-learning days. The district has already used all of its e-learning days this year for weather events in January and February and for the cyber attack in February.
Second, the district must meet the minimum number of school days and instructional hours required by the state. For some high school and middle school students, the unmodified calendar included just enough hours of instruction to meet the minimum requirements. The district has not yet communicated a plan for how those students will make up the missed hours of instruction.
Several schools within the district do not have air conditioning. In past years, this has meant these schools moved online on hot weather days in June in order to meet the required instructional hours and days. The district will not have this option if there are hot weather days this year.
For students in grades 1-6, the current calendar has about four days of flexibility, where canceled days shouldn’t bring students under the minimum days or hours. For students in grades 7-12 that have a six-period school day, any additional missed instructional time would need to be made up to stay above the state required minimum hours.