Hopkinton schools to add Eid, Lunar New Year as school-free vacation

Members Nancy Cavanaugh, Amanda Fargiano and Lya Batlle-Rafferty voted in favor of adopting the new calendar model, while Joseph Markey was opposed. Meg Tyler did not vote, which was ultimately recorded as an abstention.

“It supports our kids who practice their faith and celebrate their cultures. It lets them not go to school when they’re having a day that’s important to them in terms of their faith or their culture,” said Superintendent of Schools Carol Cavanaugh. Read more about Hopkinton’s growth: US Census: Hopkinton saw one of the bigger population surges in the state

Carol Cavanaugh pointed to data that showed the town’s demographics have changed rapidly in the past two decades. With a current population of about 18,600, the town has grown by 25% over the last 10 years, according to US Census figures. In 1990, 98% of the town’s 9,000 people were white. Black people made up 0.4% of the population, while Asians represented 1.1%.

Lunar New Year, which fell on Feb. 1 this year, marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars traditional to many east Asian countries including China, South Korea and Vietnam. Eid-al-Fitr, this year on May 2-3, is a Muslim holiday that comes at the end of the monthlong dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. Changing demographics

Diwali, a major Indian holiday celebrated in mid-fall, was added to the school calendar in 2019. This school year was the first in which students got Diwali off. But 20 years later, in 2010, white people represented 84% of the population, Census figures show, as Asians grew to 4.4%. And since then, the Asian population has more than doubled to 11.4%, per recent American Community Survey data.

“We’re signaling to a more diverse group of possible employees that, ‘Look, we value you coming here. You won’t have to spend these personal days on your holidays because we’ve taken that into account,” said Batlle-Rafferty. Differing opinions Batlle-Rafferty noted that incorporating the new holidays into the school calendar could also attract new educators to the district. Teachers get two personal days per year, according to the superintendent, and would have to otherwise use those days to cover their absence.

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