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​​Emergency School Closings

24 P.S. §25-2523 

Date of Issue:    September 1, 1997
Date of Review​:  January 18, 2022, December 11, 2008, December 7, 2001


This BEC provides guidance and direction regarding public school emergency closing procedures. It reflects current requirements of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. The following emergency school closing background and procedures are consistent with law and provide guidance and direction on emergency school closing.


Section 2523 of the Public School Code of 1949 grants the Secretary of Education discretionary power with regard to payment of subsidy during emergency school closings. When any Board of School Directors or joint school committee or intermediate unit with respect to an area vocational technical school (hereinafter referred to collectively as "school entity") is compelled to close any school(s) because of contagious disease, natural disaster or other emergency, the following general procedures are to be followed by the school entity in asking the Department to exercise its discretion and grant a waiver under § 2523 to allow the school entity to receive full subsidy reimbursement for providing less than a minimum term of 180 days because of the emergency closing.


Representatives of a school entity affected by a § 2523 emergenc​​​y closing shall immediately contact the Department of Education's School Services Unit (717-787-4860) to discuss the emergency and any proposed solutions.

If the school entity seeks to request a § 2523 waiver involving a closing of up to three (3) days that request shall: 1) be made in writing to the School Services Unit, 2) detail and substantiate the reasons which compelled the closing, and 3) include an up-to-date summary of PDE-approved emergency closings per building for the current school year. ​​

If the school entity seeks to request a § 2523 waiver for a closing of longer than three (3) days, or involving more than a total of three (3) days during the school year for any building, then, in addition to the written request described above, the school entity will be required to amend the school calendar to make up days missed or ensure a minimum of 450 hours of instruction will be offered to kindergarten students, 900 hours of instruction will be offered to elementary students, and 990 hours of instruction will be offered to secondary students. The request shall include a copy of the original school calendar approved by the Board and a copy of the revised school calendar approved by the Board.

In all instances where a school entity is compelled to close any school(s) under an emergency as provided for in § 2523 during the course of the school day, it is not necessary to request a waiver and that day shall be credited as a full day of membership and count as a full day of instructional hours. There will be no loss of subsidy when an emergency closing causes schools to be c​losed after the beginning of the school day. If the emergency school closing occurs during the course of the school day and prior to the PM kindergarten session, it is necessary to request a waiver for the PM kindergarten group.

In all instances where a​​ school entity is compelled to close any school(s), the § 2523 request shall indicate if any students are receiving an extended school year of special education and how the closing will affect the delivery of that program.

A school entity may rec​​eive subsidy if it makes a bona fide effort to provide 180 days of instruction to graduating seniors under § 1501 and need not seek relief under § 2523. Section 2523 applies only to emergency closings of individual school buildings.


Purdon's Statutes

24 P.S. § 15-1501

24 P.S. § 25-2523​​

Contact Bureau/Office:

School Services Office
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Forum Building
607 South Drive
Harrisburg, PA  17120
Phone: 717-425-​5041