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Statewide Legal Holidays; Accommodation for Religious Observances

To:Superintendents of Schools, Charter School Leaders, Other Interested Parties
From:Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:January 5, 2024

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing this updated information to assist school officials in planning school calendars and in accommodating students and staff who are observing religious obligations.

  1. Below is a list of Massachusetts legal holidays for school years 2023-2024, 2024-2025, and 2025-2026. Under state law (Mass. General Laws Chapter 4, section 7, cl. 18) all public offices, including public schools, must be closed on these statewide legal holidays.

    Holiday2023-2024 School Year2024-2025 School Year2025-2026 School Year
    Labor DayMon., Sept. 4Mon., Sept. 2Mon., Sept. 1
    Columbus DayMon., Oct. 9Mon., Oct. 14Mon., Oct. 13
    Veterans' DaySat., Nov. 11Mon. Nov. 11Tues., Nov. 11
    ThanksgivingThurs., Nov. 23Thurs., Nov. 28Thurs. Nov. 27
    Christmas DayMon., Dec. 25Wed., Dec. 25Thurs., Dec. 25
    New Year's DayMon., Jan. 1Wed., Jan. 1Thurs., Jan. 1
    Martin Luther King, Jr. DayMon., Jan. 15Mon., Jan. 20Mon., Jan. 19
    Presidents' DayMon., Feb. 19Mon., Feb. 17Mon., Feb. 16
    Patriots' DayMon., April 15Mon., April 21Mon., April 20
    Memorial DayMon., May 27Mon., May 26Mon., May 25
    Juneteenth DayWed., June 19Thurs., June 19Fri., June 19
    Independence DayThurs., July 4Fri., July 4Sat. July 4

    Please note:

    • Under state law, a legal holiday that falls on a Sunday is observed on the following Monday, and a legal holiday that falls on a Saturday is observed on Saturday.

    • Beyond statewide legal holidays, each school district and charter school determine its school vacations.

  2. When planning school calendars, determining possible days of low attendance, and accommodating religious observances for students and staff, it is helpful to refer to multi-faith calendars that are available online from various organizations. Please note that Baha'i, Jewish, and Islamic holidays begin at sundown the previous day and end at sundown on the date listed. Also, some dates may be approximate due to the lunar calendar. For more information on religious holidays that members of your school community may observe, I encourage you to contact local clergy.

State and federal laws require schools to make reasonable accommodation to the religious needs of students and employees in observance of holy days. Mass. General Laws Chapter 151B, section 4 (1A) addresses this issue with respect to employees. With respect to students, Mass. General Laws Chapter 151C, section 2B reads in relevant part as follows:

Any student in an educational or vocational training institution…who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.

Schools may meet their obligation to accommodate students by excusing individual absences for religious observance, or by adjusting the school calendar to provide a school year of at least 180 school days while taking into account possible days of low attendance due to religious holidays.

Please share this information with your school building administrators. We hope you will find it helpful.





Last Updated: January 5, 2024



 
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