PDE Sets Deadlines for Flexible Instructional Day Program Applications (August 5, 2019)

On July 31, 2019, Matthew Stem, Deputy Secretary of PDE’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education to all public school entities  titled Flexible Instructional Day Program .  

With the passage of Act 64 of 2019, section 1506 was added to the Public School Code enabling public school entities the opportunity to develop a Flexible Instructional Day (FID) program to meet the 180 instructional day requirement of section 1501. Act 64 defines school entities as school districts, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools, and charter schools or regional charter schools, as defined under section 1703-A.

 While public school entities are expected to build make-up days into their local school calendars, FID programs can support the public school entities in cases when circumstances (e.g., a disease epidemic, a hazardous weather condition, a law enforcement emergency, the inoperability of school buses or other equipment necessary to the public school entity’s operation, damage to a school building, or another temporary circumstance rendering any portion of a school building unfit or unsafe for use) prevent the delivery of instruction in its customary manner or location. If the public school entity chooses to implement a FID program, the number of flexible instructional days may not exceed five (5) days per school year. 

A public school entity electing to participate must develop a local FID program that meets the assurances outlined in the application.  The FID program must be approved by the School Board of Directors prior to acceptance by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 

For the 2019-2020 school year, applications and instructional exemplars are due to PDE no later than September 1, 2019.  No later than September 30, 2019, applicants also must submit to PDE either a copy of the official minutes indicating Board approval of the local FID program or a copy of the resolution presented to the Board for approval along with a signed letter from the Board president verifying the date the resolution was presented and detailing the results of the vote. If submitting a letter and a copy of the resolution, the official minutes must be submitted as soon as possible after Board approval and no later than October 31, 2019.

A public school entity will receive notification from PDE that its application has been accepted or denied no later than November 1, 2019.  If accepted, the FID program will be in place for a three-year period and may be renewed thereafter.

PDE will issue an annual survey related to the efficacy of FID programs annually on or before April 30 to each public school entity with an accepted application.  Each public school entity shall return the survey to PDE by June 30 of the same year.  PDE will use the survey results to track FID usage, gauge overall effectiveness, and gather feedback on the need for additional guidance.

Those seeking additional information, including the FID program application, guidance document, and law, should contact the PDE School Services Office at RA-FID@pa.gov or visit the website at  Flexible Instructional Day Program.