Unlike several other Maryland counties, Frederick County Public Schools is unlikely to consider opening schools on two major Jewish holidays.

Both options scheduled to be presented Wednesday to the Frederick County Board of Education keep schools closed on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur — two of the most sacred holidays for Jewish people.

The calendar committee, a collection of 24 members representing various groups, recommended schools continue to close on Yom Kippur, which is also Fair Day. Community members were split on closing on Fair Day, but maintained the importance of observing the Jewish holidays.

Both proposed calendar options once again reflect an abbreviated spring break. Spring break would result in closing schools on April 18, 19 and 22. The recommendations also include eliminating the day before Thanksgiving as a day when schools are closed.

The calendar committee proposed moving a teacher professional workday that had previously been held in October. The calendar has three built-in snow days versus the five that had been built in in previous calendars.

Several other districts are grappling with the difficulties of the tight schedule. A state mandate set by Gov. Larry Hogan last year requires schools to start the calendar after Labor Day and end by June 15.

Complicating matters this upcoming year is the fact that school officials have to find several days of school they didn’t have last year. In 2017, Yom Kippur fell on a Saturday, so schools didn’t need to close. Also, in 2018 there is a gubernatorial election, which will require schools to be closed on Election Day. Finally, the final day of the school calendar, June 15, is a Saturday, which is another day the board has to find.

The scheduling conflicts have led to some districts considering opening the doors on the Jewish holidays.

Anne Arundel County decided to open its doors on Rosh Hashana, but remain closed on Yom Kippur. Baltimore County is scheduled to decide Tuesday if it will open its doors on both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which would be the first time schools open on Jewish holidays in about 20 years.

Baltimore City Public Schools has not closed schools for Jewish holidays in the past.

Howard, Mongtomery and Carroll counties are each likely to continue closing on the Jewish holidays.

Mount names
new provost

Mount St. Mary’s University has tabbed Boyd Creasman as its new provost, beginning in January 2018.

Creasman, the current provost at West Virginia Wesleyan University, will serve as the Mount’s chief academic officer. The university conducted a national search before choosing to hire Creasman.

“We are excited to have Boyd join our Mount community,” President Timothy Trainor said in a news release. “Student success is our top priority in our just-released strategic plan, and I am confident that he will help lead our academic program to an even higher level of excellence. We look forward to Boyd helping lead Mount St. Mary’s University into the future.”

Creasman joins the Mount a semester after the college experienced a 24 percent increase in freshman enrollment. The university recently approved its strategic plan, and introduced four academic programs: cybersecurity, politics/philosophy/economics, entrpreneurship and forensic accounting.

Creasman will work with Trainor to fill two positions for academic deans the college is trying to fill.

“I am incredibly pleased to join the Mount community,” Creasman said in the release. “This university offers a rich tradition and history, excellent programs and extremely talented and dedicated faculty. The Mount has an exciting future, and I am honored to be given an opportunity to play a role in its continuing success.”

Creasman spent four years as provost at West Virginia Wesleyan, where he helped develop a profitable graduate program in nursing and co-wrote a grant proposal that resulted in a $10 million, five-year Title III grant focused on improving student success and student engagement.

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler.

Allen Etzler is a city editor at the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at aetzler@newspost.com.

(6) comments


When we grew up, we had school on election day, despite the fact that the school was used as a ballot location. That's an easy one.


Odd that in MoCo- with I imagine a much larger Jewish population than FredCo- we no longer observe Jewish holidays. FredCo kept their end of quarter Professional days too it seems as my kids are off this Friday for a "teacher work day." We lost them in MCPS but we still have a 5 day Spring break whereas FredCo has a 4 day weekend. Like budgetary decisions, scheduling decisions often stink. No one gets all of what they want and different people want different things. Oh well.


One less day of education.....


So, what happened to separation of church and state?


It has transformed into separation of Christianity and state - at least that has been FCPS interpretation for some time. We have "winter break" on FCPS calendar but then we call Jewish holidays what they should be called. I have no problem with students being off for Jewish holidays - but I've had a problem with FCPS's double standard here by not calling Christian holidays by name. I believe that policy commenced under Dr. Bergers tenure as superintendent many years ago.


Uh.... the calendar specifically names Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Maybe check your facts.

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