The state of Minnesota requires schools to provide instructional time that meets minimum requirements for both days and hours, which vary by grade level. Currently, students in grades 1-11 must have at least 165 days of school each year. Full-day kindergarten students are required to have 850 hours of instruction during the school year. This increases to 935 hours for students in grades 1-6, and 1,020 hours for students in grades 7-12. Non-instructional time during the school day, such as lunch, does not count towards the minimum instructional minutes.
The instructional day counts as six hours for most MPS students, but some high schoolers have a longer instructional day. The calendar for the current school year includes 170 instructional days. Assuming the typical MPS student has six instructional hours per day, then the current calendar provides most students with 1,020 hours of instructional time. This is more than enough time for the district's K-6 students to meet state requirements. However, any cancellation of school would put many of the district’s 7-12 grade students under the required number of instructional hours for the school year.
School districts can use up to five days per school year as “e-learning” days. This allows districts to count a day online for both the days of instruction and the typical hours of instruction for a typical school day.
If MPS were to cancel school, or to exceed five e-learning days, then, to meet state requirements, state law would require MPS to modify the calendar to add additional instructional time, either through longer school days, fewer vacation days, or adding days into summer break, in order to meet the required instructional minutes for at least some of its students.
The current school calendar was approved by the school board in 2022. Typically, the board approves a calendar for three years at a time, meaning the board will likely vote on a new calendar in 2025.