Arkansas Code Title 6. Education § 6-16-102. School day hours

(a)(1) As used in this section, “school day” shall mean a day in which classes are in session and students receive at least six (6) hours of instructional time.

(2) Any day in which less than six (6) hours of instructional time are provided to students shall be counted as one-half ( 1/2 ) of a school day if at least three (3) hours of instructional time are provided to students.

(3) Any day in which less than three (3) hours of instructional time are provided to students shall not be counted as any part of a school day.

(4) A school district may include as part of the school day the travel time between public schools or other educational programs of those students attending classes or programs authorized by law.

(5)(A) At least forty (40) minutes of instructional time per school day shall be used for recess during the school day for students attending public elementary schools.

(B) Recess shall:

(i) Consist of supervised, unstructured social time during which public school students may communicate with each other;

(ii) Occur outdoors when weather and other relevant conditions permit;  and

(iii) Include without limitation opportunities for free play and vigorous physical activity, regardless of whether recess occurs indoors or outdoors.

(C) The remaining instructional hours required under this section shall be distributed across academic content areas as determined by a public school district’s board of directors.

(D) A public school principal may use discretion to adjust recess time required under this section due to special circumstances or programs that interrupt a regular school day.

(E)(i) A public elementary school may seek a waiver from the requirements under this subdivision (a)(5) if the public elementary school:

(a) Submits to the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval an alternative plan for recess that:

(1) Exceeds the required minimum amount of minutes combined for physical activity under § 6-16-132 and recess under this section;  and

(2) Provides for both structured and unstructured social time;  or

(b) Is approved by the division to operate as a virtual school.

(ii) Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, the division shall provide to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education each year for three (3) years a report that details the following:

(a) Which public elementary schools have been granted a waiver under subdivision (a)(5)(E)(i) of this section;  and

(b) How many waivers have been granted by the division under subdivision (a)(5)(E)(i) of this section.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the State Board of Education shall promulgate rules to prescribe the credit to be given students for attending school for only a portion of a school day because the school is closed due to emergency circumstances which would be hazardous to the health of the students.  The state board shall also identify the emergency circumstances.

(c) A school district is deemed to have fulfilled the requirements of subsection (a) of this section if the planned instructional time in each school day does not average less than six (6) hours each day or thirty (30) hours each week.

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