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Flexible Instructional Day Guidance Considerations

Topics: What is a Flexible Instruction Day | How to Apply | Important Topics | Stakeholder Support | Training | Access to Materials and Resources | Contingency Plans | Meeting Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) | Attendance | Technical Assistance and Support | Instructional Exemplar | Health Services | Board Approval and Utilization of FIDs for the 2023-24 SY and Subsequent School Years | Non-Public School Requirements

What is a Flexible Instruction Day?

A Flexible Instructional Day (FID) program can support public school entities in cases when circumstances prevent the delivery of instruction in its customary manner or location. For example, this could include an epidemic, hazardous weather condition, law enforcement emergency, inoperability of school buses or other equipment necessary to the public school entity's operation, damage to a school building(s), or another temporary circumstance rendering any portion of a school building(s) unfit or unsafe for use. (24 P.S. §15-1506)

An FID is not used to replace another planned day on the calendar when a public school entity has chosen to close one or more of its buildings (e.g., Election Day or planned holidays or school break). An FID is used for events that affect all students in the public school entity (e.g., major snowstorm that closes all school buildings) or a single school building (e.g., an elementary school) if it is used for a reason noted in section 1506. An FID can NOT be used when only a segment of students is affected (e.g., graduating seniors or kindergarteners).

The number of FIDs may not exceed five (5) days per school year.  A school entity must have its FID application accepted by PDE prior to using a flexible instruction day. An FID used for one building counts as one of the five days permitted each year for the entire public school entity. 

If accepted, a public school entity's application is valid for three school years, after which the school entity may reapply. For example, school entities that were accepted for the 2021-22 school year must reapply in 2024-25 to offer FIDS in 2024-25, 2025-26 and 2026-27. Only school entities with an accepted FID application may use FIDs.  

How to Apply

School entities submit their FID applications through the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal (FRCPP). The first step to gaining access to the FRCPP is to ensure that you are a registered user in MyPDESuite. If you are not a registered user, please see Register a Username and Log In.

Your school entity's Local Security Administrator can add/remove FRCPP users in MyPDESuite. Instructions for adding users and a step-by-step guide for using the FCRRP is available in the Accessing the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal and Gaining Access to LEA and School Plans.

For technical issues with accessing the portal, please contact the FRCPP Support Team at​

Important Topics

A successful FID program starts with submitting an application to PDE that addresses the items noted in this guidance document.​​

Stakeholder Support

How critical is stakeholder awareness and understanding of FID protocol?

  • Creating awareness along with a clear understanding of FID programs is critical to successful implementation. Students, staff, parents, school boards, and communities all need a clear understanding of how the program will work and what roles each must play.
  • Consider the availability of both school and community resources and how to most effectively inform and gain support from all stakeholders as to the purpose and structure of FIDs as ALL students must be able to participate during a FID, as this is a regular instructional day.
  • Consider presentations at parent advisory meetings and other onsite school functions to provide an overview of how the system works as well as a posting a step-by-step set of directions on accessing the necessary resources on your entity's website. These presentations could also be provided by virtual means to stakeholders.
  • Your public school entity's governing body must approve your FID program application through a vote by its members. PDE recommends that this takes place during a winter or early spring Board meeting. As part of your application, you must submit approved meeting minutes or a signed board affirmation statement by June 1 as evidence of board approval. Applications that do not include approved board minutes or the board affirmation statement will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.​


Does everyone understand how to complete the assignments and the expectations for learning?

  • Staff, students, and parents play key roles in FID success. If technology is the chosen method for delivery of instruction, staff, students, and parents must all know how to access and use the online services and resources.
  • While teachers can prepare students on the procedure to complete work online, parents, guardians, and other care providers, such as grandparents, will require some basic knowledge to assist students if help is needed. 
  • Specialized professional development for teachers may assist in ensuring program success.  Consider sessions that focus on the following:
    • Curriculum design for asynchronous instruction
    • Instruction and classroom management in a virtual setting
    • Lesson design that encourages student engagement

Access to Materials and Resources

Does everyone have access to the materials required to complete the work during the FID?

  • Access to the materials and resources required for instruction and completing assignments must be made available for all students during the FID. Students and staff must be able to access instruction and/or instructional materials on the day of flexible instruction in order to be considered participating and in attendance for the purposes of Article XIII of the School Code.
  • To be considered in attendance on the FID, a student must be able to access the materials and complete the assignments. The student cannot get the assignments the next day and still get credit for attendance on the FID.

Contingency Plans

What do you do if or when there are unexpected extenuating circumstances?

  • For unexpected situations that may occur during an FID (e.g., localized power outage in one area of a district or a lack of internet access for an individual student of group of students), a policy that addresses alternatives to the planned program is critical, including a detailed backup plan with alternative methods of accessing materials.
  • Consider a policy that addresses extenuating circumstances and what workarounds would be available for students to meet the FID requirements.
  • A public school entity is required to have a contingency plan so that all students are able to participate during an FID, even in the case of a power outage or a failure of technology, when your primary method(s) of instruction and support of completing work on the FID fails. Access to the materials and resources needed for instruction must be made available prior to or during the FID, not afterwards.
  • Access to support from instructors must be made available on the FID through multiple methods (e.g., email, phone, text).
  • The option to get the work after an FID and be counted in attendance due to technology or Internet issues is not in compliance. Ensure your attendance policy meets with requirements of Article XIII of the School Code.
  • If all students cannot participate due to extenuating circumstances and your contingency plan does not ensure that all students participate, you may want to reconsider whether an FID is appropriate. PDE highly recommends that a public school entity continue to add snow/emergency closing days into the school calendar as the FID program is limited to five days per school year. 

Meeting Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

How will you address the needs of all students for instruction, especially students with disabilities?

  • Prior to the implementation of an FID, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team should convene to determine how to best meet a student's needs and determine what supports/alternate means may be employed to meet the participation requirement. Failure to do so may result in the student being granted compensatory education. All students, including those with special needs or disabilities, must be able to participate during the FID.
  • Your FID program must take into account students that require modifications and accommodations in order to participate during the FID.


How important is attendance tracking? 

  • Attendance reporting is strictly enforced by PDE in compliance with Article XIII of the School Code. Students who did not participate during the FID should be reported as having either excused or unexcused absences, accordingly. 
  • Attendance should be tracked on the FID using one or more methods, in case of the failure of technology.
  • If assignments are used as a measure of attendance, then these assignments should be submitted on the FID or in the case of hard copy work, immediately upon return to school.
  • Giving credit for work submitted after the FID should be consistent with your grading policies but should not be confused with tracking attendance. 

Technical Assistance and Support

How will you support students, teachers, parents and/or care providers who are having difficulty accessing technology and/or completing assignments during the FID?

  • Access to technical assistance and support during the FID for both teachers and students may help to avert problems that arise. Consider having technology staff available during the FID (e.g., email, chat, phone) to address any issues that arise.  

Instructional Exemplar

What will be taught and how will your teachers know if the material was learned?

  • Public school entities are required to submit a series of exemplars for courses offered (Math, ELA. Science, Social Studies, and if applicable CTE). These exemplars should be representative of instruction that will be provided during an FID.
  • Effective the 2022-23 SY, school entities must include exemplars in their application. School entities that are reapplying may copy/paste content from their previous application into the new application. 
  • Exemplars are a single-day or short multi-day lesson plans that should model Danielson practices. Unit plans or quarterly curriculum programs should not be submitted as exemplars.
  • When submitting an exemplar, confirm its completeness via the rubric criteria:
    • Standards identified
    • Clear and sequenced organization
    • Goals and expectations for learning clearly communicated
    • Activities support instructional outcomes and important concepts
    • Opportunities for student choice and accommodations for students with special needs
    • Varied resources, including access to materials should the internet be unavailable or technology fail.
    • Formative assessments that match desired outcome 

* Note: This rubric is designed solely to verify completeness and is not a quality review

Health Services

How will students access health services during the FID? 

Board Approval and Utilization of FIDs for the 2024-25 SY and Subsequent School Years

How will PDE know that the Board has approved your FID program? 

Public school entities applying for an FID program beginning in the 2024-25 school year:

Completed applications (responses to all narratives/questions, a completed assurance section, all required exemplars, approved Board minutes, and Superintendent's/Chief Administrator's electronic signature) must be submitted by June 1, 2024. Incomplete applications will be denied. 

No later than August 1, 2024, PDE will notify the public school entity whether its application meets the requirements of Section 1506 of the School Code (24 P.S. §15-1506) and is therefore accepted. If accepted, the public school entity may implement an FID program for the 2024-25 school year and two subsequent years (2025-26 and 2026-27). An FID program cannot be instituted during the 2024-25 school year or subsequent years prior to PDE accepting the public school entity's FID program application.

Non-Public School Requirements

What requirements exist for a non-public school to offer instruction?

  • A non-public school may use technology or other appropriate means to provide instruction to students on days when a school building is prevented from opening.
  • While a non-public school is not required to submit an FID application to PDE, procedures must be in place to ensure the enforcement of student attendance under Article XIII of the School ​Code and the fulfillment of the minimum hours of instruction per year under section 1327 (24 P.S. § 1327).