Scheduled half days do not count toward the required 180 days of session:

Based on recent reviews of school district calendars, and to ensure students receive the instruction time they need to succeed, the NYS Education Department has determined a need for clarification regarding half days and the required minimum 180 days of session.

For purposes of the information in this advisory, a scheduled half day is defined as any day containing no Superintendent Conference Day hours on which elementary students receive less than 5 hours of instruction excluding lunch/recess and/or secondary students receive less than 5.5 hours of instruction excluding lunch. Please be advised:

    • Half days scheduled for elementary school students on days that count as Regents Exam Days do not count toward the 180 days.
    • Half days scheduled on any ‘end-of-year’ days before Regents Exam Days do not count toward the 180 days.
    • Half days scheduled before scheduled vacation days for any grade levels, such as the days before Thanksgiving, do not count toward the 180 days.
    • Half days scheduled for kindergarten students enrolled in the district’s full day kindergarten program do not count toward the 180 days.
    • Half days scheduled for any grade level to conduct staff development or parent teacher conferences, when they are in addition to four Superintendent’s Conference Days, do not count toward the 180 days unless the weekly minimum hours of instruction required in regulation can still be met in the week in which such half days are scheduled*.

* School district officials may schedule up to four shortened instruction days each semester to hold parent-teacher or staff conferences for part of the day, if and only if the minimum number of hours of instruction for the week is still provided during the week in which the shortened instruction days occur (25 hours for elementary schools and 27.5 hours for secondary schools, excluding lunch.) This means that only districts that normally provide more than the minimum hours of instruction per week can conduct a shortened instruction day that counts toward the required 180 days. (For weeks in which a legal holiday occurs and a district wishes to schedule a shortened session for these purposes, the minimum number of hours of instruction for the week may be prorated to 20 hours for elementary schools and 22 hours for secondary schools, excluding lunch.)

Examples:
Regular elementary school hours: 8:45-2:45 minus one hour for lunch/recess =                              
5 hour day  X  5 days  =  25 hours per week of instruction. 
A shortened session day scheduled by this district does not count toward the 180 days because the minimum weekly hours of instruction required in regulation (25) cannot possibly be met.

Regular high school hours: 8:30-3:00 minus 30 minutes for lunch =
6 hour day  X  5 days  =  30 hours per week of instruction (2.5 hours above the 27.5 minimum.)
A shortened session day scheduled by this district consisting of not less 3.5 hours of instruction does count toward the 180 days because the minimum weekly hours of instruction required in regulation (27.5) would still be met.

Questions may be directed to the State Aid Office: (518) 474-2977.

More information on counting 180 days: https://stateaid.nysed.gov/attendance/attendance_memo.htm
Last Updated: December 5, 2017