The PA Department of Education (PDE) recently issued correspondence to help school districts prepare for the 2022-23 school year by clarifying how remote learning time can continue to satisfy the 180-day and 900/990 hour statutory requirements. To provide predictability for planning purposes, flexibility for schools, and for families that request periods of remote instruction for their children, PDE will follow the same practice that was implemented during the 2021-22 school year, recognizing that virtual instruction is related to an emergency as defined by Section 520.1 of the School Code. The online template is now available and PDE will begin accepting submissions on July 1, 2022.
PDE’s approval of a school entity’s plan as set forth in the template will be for the 2022-23 school year only, as approvals of this nature are made on a year-to-year basis. The use of virtual instruction under this provision must be pandemic related. The decision to enact temporary provisions under Section 520.1 of the School Code remains a local one. When making decisions related to the provision of instructional time, all school entities must be cognizant of issues such as the provision of planned instruction needed to attain the relevant academic standards set forth in Chapter 4; implementing systems of tracking attendance and instructional time, especially related to students engaging in remote instruction; the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE); and equity in access to instruction for all students. Any questions should be directed to PDE’s School Services Office at RA-PDE-SchoolService@pa.gov.