The Boyertown Area School District is the latest to abandon plans to implement a new state program that would allow students to do school work from home to avoid having too many snow days.

Boyertown and Pottsgrove were the only two tri-county area districts to indicate they were considering submitting plans to the state by the Sept. 1 deadline, but both have now reversed course.

Flexible instruction days use nontraditional methods to provide instruction to students in their homes. While they can involve off-line instruction, the most common method is online lessons.

Earlier in the month Pottstown, Phoenixville, Owen J. Roberts and Methacton all indicated they would not participate this year.

MediaNews Group has now confirmed the same also holds true for Upper Perkiomen, Spring-Ford, Daniel Boone and Perkiomen school districts.

Earlier this month, Boyertown Superintendent Dana T. Bedden said Boyertown would submit a plan by Sept. 1 for the new "flexible instructional days" option created by new state legislation.

However, in a phone message to MediaNews Group Aug. 13, Bedden said plans have changed.

"After further review, Boyertown has decided not to pursue the flexible instructional days option," Bedden said.

"I think you may find a number of districts are re-considering it after looking at the timeline they gave us to meet this year and some significant concerns about managing special education population, that a number of districts are either going to not pursue it or wait and see how things go for those who do try to do it," Bedden said.

"It has a number of unresolved issues that are making it very difficult for districts to be successful to submit for what seemed like could have been a very good idea to support schools," Bedden concluded.

That same night, Gary DeRenzo, director of community relations for the Pottsgrove School District, confirmed his district is not yet ready to initiate the program by the deadline.

"I believe this legislation was created with good intentions," wrote Daniel Boone Superintendent Brett Cooper.

Like Bedden, Cooper said the impact of how special education students will be provided for during flexible instruction days, continues to pose challenge for school districts.

"At this time, the Upper Perkiomen School District does not intend to submit a plan to participate in the flexible instruction day program this academic year," Nikki Gum, Upper Perkiomen communications specialist, wrote on behalf of Superintendent Allyn Roche.

"We recognize that this type of initiative requires extensive exploration to determine if it is the right course of action for our district," she wrote. "We do not feel that the Sept. 1 deadline provides enough time to make that determination for Upper Perk."

"Perkiomen Valley School District is interested in the state's program, but the turnaround time to submit a plan was limited and we wanted to investigate the idea a little further," Jessica Lester, director of community relations for the Perkiomen School District wrote.

"Montgomery County superintendents are planning to address this topic at a meeting this fall. We are certainly in favor of the flexibility this program would offer us, but need a little more time to conduct some research to see what might work," Lester wrote.

"We have three emergency days built into the schedule, and the district will continue to treat snow days like snow days," according to a reply from Spring-Ford Superintendent David Goodin.

"We want to ensure our students can participate in meaningful educational experiences and at this stage, we are not going to explore Flex Instruction Days as an option," Goodin indicated in an email.

The flexible instructional days program created under the new legislation is based on a three-year pilot program in a dozen districts that ended in 2018.

It was recently signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

It will allow districts to apply to the state Department of Education to use up to five flexible instructional days per school year.

A plan and application must be submitted by Sept. 1 to opt into the new bill, which gives districts limited time to make a decision for this school year.

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