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Eid made holiday in Vermont city schools.

One Muslim and one Jewish holiday are set to be added to the school calendar of Vermont's Burlington

School District in the fall. The Burlington School Board voted 8-1 this month to add Eid al-Fitr and Yom Kippur to the school calendar to give Muslim and Jewish students time off for their holy days. Eid al Fitr, celebrated by Muslims, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of atonement.

School Board Chairman Fred Lane said the Burlington school system has a sizable Jewish population and an increasing number of Muslim students. Jewish and Muslim students often take their corresponding holy days off, causing a sizable drop in attendance.

If the schools close the on those holidays, some of the attendance problems go away, Lane told the Burlington Free Press, emphasizing that the days would be off-days not to mark the religious holidays but to maintain high attendance levels.

According to the Free Press, School Superintendent Jeanne Collins said Burlington High School Principal Amy Mellencamp told her and School Board members that about 75 of the high school's roughly 1,100 students were absent on Eid al-Fitr last year, while only about 50 students are absent from the school on a typical day.

The Eid and Yom Kippur off-days won't lengthen the school year because existing days off will be moved to the date of the holidays. "We're just shifting things around in terms of where they fall," Lane said, adding that the changes would go into effect in the fall.

Burlington is not the only school system that has given students the day off for Eid al-Fitr and Yom Kippur. Lane said a small number of school districts nationwide are closing schools on holidays such as Eid al-Fitr and Yom Kippur.
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Title Annotation:Faith: Religion and the world
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Mar 26, 2010
Words:299
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