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Are schools UK open or closed on Juneteenth, Monday, June 19, 2023?



Monday, June 19, marks the annual celebration of Juneteenth for 2023 and, like every year, many pupils and parents alike are curious as to whether schools will be open or closed.

Celebrated across the country each year on June 19, Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day or Freedom Day as it is known by some, sees people and communities come together to commemorate the freeing of enslaved African Americans in 1865.

Having originated in Texas in the late 1860s before spreading across the South and eventually the greater US, people can expect to see gatherings, cookouts, street parties and possibly even firework displays, making for a day that represents one of the most historically significant holidays in the nation’s calendar.

And as one may come to expect, Juneteenth can disrupt our normal schedules, meaning you may have to adjust your plans this Monday. Schools are often the first thought of many on occasions such as this one, so will they be open or closed on Monday, June 19, 2023?

While there is no blanket answer, the chances are that yes, your local school will be closed on Monday, June 19, to honour Juneteenth 2023.

Though it is decided on a state-to-state basis rather than at a nationwide level, Juneteenth is officially marked as a federal holiday, meaning that all minor and non-essential government services will shut, and schools generally tend to follow.

Just as with private businesses, private schools do not have to follow in the government’s footsteps and can remain open if they wish, though one should always check ahead of time whether your child’s private school will be open on Juneteenth, as there is a good chance it will shut.

If your child attends a state school, be sure to check your local government’s websites for updates on what the Juneteenth celebrations will mean for your area.


Juneteenth is a relatively new federal holiday

While Juneteenth may have been celebrated in some capacity for over 100 years, it has actually only been recognized as a federal holiday for a relatively short amount of time.

Up until June 17, 2021, Juneteenth had been officially regarded as a celebration, but after multiple decades of calls for it to be upgraded to federal holiday status, it was voted through the House of Representatives on a 415-14 majority.

President Biden Hosts The White House's Juneteenth Concert On The South Lawn
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In an official proclamation, President Joe Biden told the nation he was “proud to have consecrated Juneteenth as our newest national holiday.”

“I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and celebrate the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of Black Americans,” Biden remarked before urging Americans to “commit together to eradicate systemic racism that still undermines our founding ideals and collective prosperity.”

All the federal holiday dates you need in your diary

Including Juneteenth, the US Government is celebrating 11 federal holidays in 2023, four of which have already passed as we head towards Juneteenth.

With disruptions to several services and businesses to be expected on each occasion, it’s always important to keep track of federal holidays, so you know best when to plan your days around them.

Here is the official list of the federal holidays still to go in 2023:

  • Juneteenth – Monday, June 19
  • Independence Day – Tuesday, July 4
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 4
  • Columbus Day – Monday, October 9
  • Veterans Day – Friday, November 10
  • Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 23
  • Christmas Day – Monday, December 25
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