HARRISBURG – The Senate unanimously approved legislation authored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) today that would give school districts the option to implement flexible instructional days in the event of a school closure.
Senate Bill 440 codifies a pilot program that the Pennsylvania Department of Education opened up to a dozen school districts across the commonwealth. The pilot program is set to expire later this year.
Phillips-Hill’s legislation paves the way for any public school entity to utilize this new program. A flexible instructional day would be utilized to cover necessary coursework, including English, math, social studies and science. School districts have the option to use technology for purposes of fulfilling the coursework.
“I’m grateful for my colleagues in seeing the merits of this legislation that will provide every school district with the option to implement flexible instructional days,” Phillips-Hill said. “We’ve seen tremendous success and support locally in York County as well as across the state to utilize this program that ensures students can continue to learn at home in the event of a school cancellation due to a myriad of reasons. It is important we provide tools and not mandates to our schools to allow them to address their local challenges.”
Examples of when a flexible instructional day would be utilized include building or infrastructure problems, weather-related closures or threats made against school buildings.
Schools that would be eligible to apply with the Pennsylvania Department of Education include public school districts, intermediate units, vocational-technical schools and charter schools. Approved applications would be valid for three years, when the school would need to reapply. School districts may use up to five flexible instructional days per school year.
The legislation moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration.