Gov. Northam signs Labor Day school bills

Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 14:38:59-04

A big change is coming to some Virginia schools: they will now be allowed to open before Labor Day.

Governor Ralph Northam signed bills that would allow all Virginia schools to open as much as two weeks before Labor Day. The law still allows students a four-day weekend over the holiday.

The signing ends years of debate over the so-called “King’s Dominion Law”, which was passed in the 1980s to benefit tourism-related businesses. It could just as easily been called the Busch Gardens Law or the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Law, since Labor Day is the last big weekend of the summer tourism season.

Under the law, school systems that wanted to open before Labor Day had to qualify for a waiver because of time lost to snow days or adding new programs. Some open more than two weeks before Labor Day. Now any school system can open before the holiday.

Most waivers went to school systems west of Richmond.

The Virginia Education Association praised the law, saying it gives educators more classroom time, benefiting students.

The deadline for the Governor to act on all bills passed by the General Assembly is Tuesday.