Virtual Instructional Days

In 2017, the Governor signed a bill into law requiring that the Rhode Island Department of Education (“RIDE”) establish a policy that allows districts to submit detailed plans if their district/schools intend to conduct instruction through virtual education when schools have been closed due to inclement weather or other emergency (R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-2-2(c)). The updated policy is available at the following link:​

This guidance contains information about the process a Local Education Agency (“LEA”) should use to submit a plan, the components that should be included in the plan, and a rubric establishing criteria as to how the plan will be evaluated.  ​

Please submit applications with plans via email to Applications and plans must be submitted annually for approval.

There are three main components to a Virtual Instructional Day Plan including:

  1. Culture and Management
  2. Curriculum and Instruction
  3. Technology and Supports  ​

​LEAs should use the Virtual Instructional Day Plan Template [DOC 223KB] to help ensure that all components of the plan are included. Supporting documents and links may also be included.

There are four steps to the process:  ​

  1. The LEA completes an application and implementation plan including all components described in the accompanying guidance. Applications may be submitted to RIDE at any time during the year to​
  2. RIDE provides confirmation of receipt of the application and plan and will notify the LEA of any additional information needed prior to review of the application.
  3. The RIDE team reviews the application and provides feedback regarding the status of the application.
  4. Approved applications are placed on the next available Council agenda for final approval.  ​

​The maximum number of virtual instructional days approved is limited to five per school year.  

LEAs should notify RIDE as soon as possible when they intend to shift to virtual learning and provide the reason(s) it is necessary via the Virtual Learning Intent Form, which is available to authorized LEA users at the RIDE portal. RIDE will provide immediate support, as well as record and track each LEA's Virtual learning days. ​

If an LEA or individual school(s) does not have an approved plan or adhere to the process for notification of transition to virtual learning, then this may prevent them from obtaining the approval necessary to count any day of virtual learning as one of the 180 school days mandated under R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-2-2(a)(1). ​

Conversion of a virtual learning day to a school day is only possible if an LEA provides a plan substantiating how, and notifies RIDE of when, virtual learning was undertaken.