State Capital

HARRISBURG >> The House of Representatives approved legislation on Monday, June 24 that will give school districts the option of using up to five flexible instructional days per year, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York).

Flexible instructional days are used when schools are closed due to various circumstances, including building or infrastructure problems, weather-related closures or threats made to the school and its students.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is winding down a three-year pilot program that saw a dozen school districts participate.

“School districts need the added flexibility of ensuring their students’ continuity of education is not interrupted by the weather or any other unplanned school closure,” Phillips-Hill said. “The pilot program drew overwhelmingly positive reviews from participating school districts. Based on the responses from the districts that were enrolled in the program, there is no doubt that this option should be made available to each and every school district across the state.”

Senate Bill 440 will codify the pilot program into the state law providing this option to all schools, both public and private, to meet the educational needs of students throughout the year. Technology or other means are allowed in the legislation to allow students to work from home during a school closure.

Schools that would be eligible to apply with the Pennsylvania Department of Education include public school districts, intermediate units, vocational-technical schools, charter schools and parochial schools. Approved applications would be valid for three years, when the school would need to reapply.

The legislation heads to Governor Wolf’s desk for his signature.

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