303P - School Calendar and School Day
The length of the school year is at least 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours. Days on which a school or schools or all the schools in the division are closed due to severe weather or other emergencies are made up as provided below if necessary to meet these requirements.
Students are provided a minimum of 680 hours of instructional time in elementary school in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.
Unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills, and overall physical fitness may be included in the calculation of total instructional time or teaching hours for elementary school, provided that such unstructured recreational time does not exceed 15 percent of total instructional time or teaching hours.
Make Up Days
If severe weather conditions or other emergency situations result in the closing of a school or schools or all the schools in the school division or in an unscheduled remote learning day for a school or schools in the division for
- five or fewer days, all missed days are made up by adding teaching days to the school calendar or extending the length of the school day;
- six days or more, the first five days plus one day for each two days missed in excess of the first five are made up by adding teaching days to the school calendar or extending the length of the school day.
If severe weather conditions or other emergency situations result in the closing of any school in the school division and such school has been unable to meet the 180 teaching day requirement, the school division may make up the missed teaching days by providing its students with instructional hours equivalent to such missed teaching days to meet the minimum 990 teaching hour requirement.
If severe weather conditions or other emergency situations result in the closing of any school in the school division for in-person instruction, the school division may declare an unscheduled remote learning day whereby the school provides instruction and student services that are consistent with guidelines established by the Department of Education to ensure the equitable provision of such services.
The Board of Education may waive the requirement that the school division provide additional teaching days or teaching hours to compensate for school closings resulting from a declared state of emergency or severe weather conditions or other emergency situations under certain circumstances. If the School Board desires a waiver, it will submit a request to the Board of Education. The request will include evidence of efforts that have been made by the school division to reschedule as many days as possible and certification by the superintendent and chairman of the School Board that every reasonable effort for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours was exhausted before requesting a waiver. If the waiver is denied, the school division will make up the missed instructional time.
The Board of Education waives the requirement that school divisions provide additional teaching days or teaching hours to compensate for school closings resulting from an evacuation directed and compelled by the Governor pursuant to Va. Code § 44-146.17 for up to five teaching days. If the School Board desires such a waiver, it notifies the Board of Education and provides evidence of efforts that have been made by the school division to reschedule as many days as possible and certification by the superintendent and chair of the School Board that every reasonable effort for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours was exhausted. After receiving such notification, the Board of Education grants the waiver and there is no proportionate reduction in the amount paid by the Commonwealth from the Basic School Aid Fund. Further, the local appropriations for educational purposes necessary to fund 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours shall not be proportionally reduced by the local appropriating body due to any reduction in the length of the term of any school or the schools in a school division permitted by such waiver.
The School Board establishes the division’s calendar in accordance with state law. The School Board establishes teaching contracts in accordance with applicable regulations of the Board of Education to include contingencies for making up teaching days and teaching hours missed for emergency situations.
An advisory committee composed of teachers, parents and school administration may be utilized to recommend a proposed calendar to the superintendent. The recommendation of this committee is advisory.
The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 averages at least 5-1/2 instructional hours excluding breaks for meals and recess. The standard school day for kindergarten is a minimum of three instructional hours.
All students in grades 1 through 12 maintain a full day schedule of classes (5-1/2 hours) unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the School Board.
Each elementary school provides students with a daily recess during the regular school year, as determined appropriate by the school.
The secondary school class schedule contains a minimum of 140 clock hours for each unit of credit. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded is no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction provided.
The time for opening and closing schools is established by the School Board upon recommendation of the superintendent, provided that the daily program for students in grades 1 through 12 averages at least 5 ½ hours, not including meal intermissions. If the required program length is maintained, the School Board may approve occasional shortened days for staff development, conferences, planning and other activities designed to improve the instructional program, provided that no more than one day in each five-day week may be shortened to no less than four hours. The daily program for kindergarten is at least three hours, not including meal intermissions.
When exceptions in the length of the daily program are necessary, the Board requests approval by the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the exceptions by August 1 preceding the school year for which they are requested.
The length of the work day for employees is determined by the School Board. It is of sufficient length to allow for the daily program for students and additional time as may be necessary for such activities as planning, preparation, meetings, workshops, conferences, meal intermissions or other contractual obligations.
Joint or Regional Schools
School boards operating joint or regional high schools, including regional charter schools, offering a specialized curriculum leading to a high school diploma and a postsecondary credential, such as industry certification, career certificate, or degree may, by agreement, establish alternative schedules for the delivery of instruction. Those schedules may include alternatives to standard school day and year requirements, subject to the issuance of any necessary waivers by the Board of Education and relevant Board of Education regulations.
The superintendent and School Board chair certify the total number of teaching days and teaching hours each year as part of the annual report to the Board of Education.
Code of Virginia, Section(s) 22.1-26, 22.1-79.1, 22.1-98, 22.1-200.2
Acts 2019, cc. 569, 570 and 637
8 VAC 20-131-150
8 VAC 20-131-200
8 VAC 20-490-30
Adopted: February 6, 1990
Amended: July 20, 2010
Amended: April 21, 2020
Amended: June 15, 2021