Pa. school districts can make up snow days in 20-minute installments

    The string of winter storms this year has prompted school closures across Pennsylvania. While school districts won’t see teaching time requirements relaxed, they will be able to apply for some wiggle room.

    The state Department of Education is sending reminders to school districts that they are allowed some flexibility in meeting instructional time requirements under state law.

    Schools have to stay open at least 180 days a year, but they can apply to have the time calculated by hours.

    In years heavy with inclement weather, it’s useful for schools looking to meet state requirements but not continuing to add make-up days to the end of the school year.

    With permission from the education department, districts can add 20 minutes to school days or convert scheduled half-days into full days.

    Students don’t need to worry about coming in on Saturdays.

    State law prohibits it, and lawmakers have sent a letter to the department they don’t intend to change it for this snowy winter.

    The last time lawmakers changed state instruction time rules and requirements due to inclement weather was during the 1995-96 school year, a department spokesman said.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal