DPI addresses hours and minutes of instruction requirement in light of recent weather-related school closures

With freezing rain and ice-covered roads in northern Wisconsin yesterday and more wintry weather expected later today we are sharing the following guidance that the Department of Public Instruction provided to school district administrators last Friday (Feb. 1) via email:

From the DPI—

“This email is in response to the numerous inquiries we have had about our current weather situation and the statutory requirement for hours and minutes of direct instruction.  For a little context, the Wisconsin State Superintendent does not have the authority to waive hours of instruction statewide (you may have read a news story about the governor in Minnesota giving a blanket waiver to all school districts—the Wisconsin Governor also does not have this authority).  School boards, under Wisconsin Stat. 118.38, may request a waiver from DPI after a public hearing is held in the district.  Historically, the department has not waived the hours and minutes requirement through this process.  We have in the past waived the 180-day requirement (this is no longer a requirement in statute), but never the associated hours and minutes.  DPI does not anticipate approving waivers for hours and minutes due to this week’s weather.  Districts do have local flexibility to determine the means by which they meet the hours and minutes standards.”  (emphasis added)