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Flexible Instructional Days

A Flexible Instructional Day (FID) is a program available to public school entities to be used as an alternate approach to delivering instruction if a circumstance arises that prevents instruction in a customary manner.

Background and Eligibility

With the passage of Act 64 of 2019 (Act 64), Section 1506 (24 P.S. §15-1506) was added to the Pennsylvania Public School Code (School Code), enabling public school entities the opportunity to develop a FID program to meet the 180 instructional day requirement of Section 1501 of the School Code (24 P.S. §15-1501). A FID program may be online, offline, or a combination of the two. Act 64 defines a public school entity as a school district, intermediate unit, career and technical school, charter school or regional charter school, 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 prevent the delivery of instruction in its customary manner or location for any of the following reasons: an 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 a temporary circumstance rendering any portion of a school building unfit or unsafe for use.

With the exception of the 2019-20 school year, if a public school entity's application is accepted to implement a FID program, the number of FIDs instituted may not exceed five (5) days per school year. For the 2019-20 school year only, the Secretary of Education used the authority granted under Act 13 of 2020 to waive the FID application deadline for school entities and increase the number of FIDs that public school entities could institute during that school year.

A public school entity electing to institute a FID program must develop a program that meets the assurances outlined in the application. The FID application must be approved by the public school entity's governing body prior to acceptance by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). To date, 384 public school entities have implemented FID programs.

Application Submission and Deadline

Beginning with the 2021-22 school year application window, public school entities will access and submit FID applications through the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal (FCRRP).

The 2021-22 FID application will be available by no later than April 1, 2021. The deadline for submitting a completed application is June 1, 2021. Incomplete applications will be denied. Because the deadline is determined by statute (24 P.S. §15-1506(c)(2)), PDE does not have the authority to grant an extension to this deadline.

PDE will notify the public school entity whether its application has been accepted or denied by August 1, 2021. If accepted, the public school entity may implement a FID program for the following school year and two subsequent years. A FID program cannot be implemented during the 2021-22 school year or in any subsequent school years if the public school entity does not have an accepted FID program application.

If accepted by PDE, the FID program is in place for a three-year period and may be renewed thereafter.

Annual Survey

Pursuant to Section 1506 of the School Code (24 P.S. §15-1506(e)), PDE shall conduct an annual survey on the efficacy of FIDs. A survey will be sent on or before April 30 of each year to each public school entity that has an accepted FID application. Each public school entity shall return the survey to PDE by June 30 of the same year. The survey results will be used to track FID usage, gauge overall effectiveness, and gather insights on implementing a program.

Information on accessing the application on the Future Ready Comprehensive Plan Portal, the law, and additional guidance are available in the box to the right.

For those public school entities that applied in the past but the application was saved and not formally submitted, was withdrawn or was denied, please contact PDE at the email address shown below to access your prior FID application on the SharePoint site.

Contact

For additional information, all public school and nonpublic school entities should email PDE's School Services Office: ra-fid@pa.gov.