[Baltimore Sun] Howard school board approves academic calendar for 2025-2026

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Howard County public schools will begin classes Aug. 25, the Monday before Labor Day, in 2025, and the school calendar will include a day off for Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in several East Asian countries, and it marks the start of the Chinese lunar calendar. In China, Lunar New Year includes a weeklong public celebration, with many celebrators traveling to observe the holiday with family.

Schools and offices will be closed Feb. 16, 2026, in observance of Presidents Day, and Feb. 17, 2026, for the Lunar New Year.

The Howard County Board of Education approved the academic calendar for the 2025-2026 school year, by a vote of 7-0 last week.

School board members had expressed dissatisfaction in December with the proposed 2025-2026 calendar, particularly regarding the holiday status of Lunar New Year. Monique Lamar, the Calendar Committee co-chair and director of Equity Initiatives for School Leadership, said the revised calendar addresses the board’s concerns.

Schools will also be closed for professional learning on Oct. 20, 2025, which is Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrated with fireworks and the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. It is significant to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Schools and offices will also be closed May 25 and May 27, 2026. Memorial Day is May 25 and Eid al-Adha is May 27. Eid al-Adha is considered the most important Islamic holiday, marking the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son.

“I really appreciate the committee and that the administration considered the needs of our very diverse community, to celebrate Diwali, Lunar New Year and Eid al-Adha by closing school days for them,” school board member Linfeng Chen said at the Feb. 22 meeting. “I really appreciate it, and that’s how we hold up our equity and diversity and inclusion.”

Per the approved calendar, schools will be closed Dec. 24, 2025, through Jan. 2, 2026, for winter break. Schools will also be closed March 30-April 6, 2026, for spring break.

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