A new Texas state law will measure school years in minutes rather than days, giving school districts more flexibility with their calendars.

House Bill 2610, which took effect immediately after passage in September, requires students attend school for 75,600 minutes rather than 180 days. The new standard will, in theory, allow districts to add minutes to school days and extend half days when necessary in order to avoid adding days or requesting waivers when severe weather or other factors force closures.

The new standard could mean slightly longer school days for many districts, but could also result in shorter school years and more holiday time off.

The Arlington School District is already taking advantage of the new standard, adding nine minutes to each school day this month for junior high and elementary students. A spokesperson told our news partner KWTX-TV the change will eliminate the need for weather makeup days because that time is now built into regular school days.

Recess, lunch, and intermission periods are counted in the minutes under the new standard.