Seneca Valley's work-from-home snow days are now a formal piece of Pennsylvania law.
The school district's superintendent came out in strong support of the new legislation, which received near unanimous approval in the state legislature before getting signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on July 2.
“We are very happy that the governor and the legislators have paid attention to our request to codify these days into law,” said Tracy Vitale, Seneca Valley superintendent.
Seneca Valley implemented flexible instructional days, or FIDs, in the 2014-15 school year as one of several districts in a test-run pilot program. It was scheduled to end this year, and the tentative 2019-20 school calendar does not currently include the days.
“We intend to revise the current 2019-2020 calendar to include FIDs,” said Linda Andreassi, a spokeswoman for the district. “We developed the 19-20 back in January not knowing if FID would become law, so we had to approve a calendar with four traditional snow days built into it. Once the new FID version of the calendar is developed with two traditional days and three FIDs — and it is board approved — we'll get it out to our community.”
Vitale provided survey data from within the district that suggests most parents like the program.
Per those results, “74 percent either strongly agree or somewhat agree with FID as an appropriate option to a school day cancellation.”
They still plan on fine-tuning the program, and will keep some traditional snow days built into the year as well.
“It can be a challenge,” Vitale said. “Nevertheless, we believe with modern technologies and student access to those technologies, there's just no reason why we shouldn't be doing this as an alternative to making up school days.”
School districts throughout the county and state will likely consider FIDs in upcoming school board meetings this year.