School Guidance for Fall Opening Expected From DESE in Late June

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BOSTON – Last week, guidance on school re-opening was issued from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to school superintendents in the Commonwealth..

The guidance issued, which talked about masks and maximum 10 students per classroom and desks 6 feet apart, was specifically for summer classes and not for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

The Framingham Public School district plans to hold remote learning for the summer, with some exceptions for those on individual education plans (IEP)s.

The state guidelines were also given to school districts to help them order needed PPE for the 2020-2021 school year. The memo issued last week to districts talked about required masks and for the schools to provide necessary PPE for all students and staff.

Specific guidance for the 2020-21 guidance is forthcoming said the state to Superintendents, in regards to school classrooms and learning.

“As you know, we are moving quickly to take in public health information and produce initial guidance on a number of topics to support you as we prepare for school re-opening this summer and potentially for the fall. In the documents we have sent in recent days, we noted several potential operating conditions for schools based on the public health guidelines in place at this time,” said the Commissioner to Massachusetts school superintendents in an email, SOURCE has obtained.

“We know you are very eager to begin planning for the fall and that it is tempting to make inferences about fall requirements whenever a new document is released. However, we urge you not to make any broad-based judgments about what school might look like in the fall based on guidance you have received this past week,” wrote DESE to Massachusetts Superintendents.

“The recently-issued supplies guidance should be used for supplies purchasing and ordering planning only,” said the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents in an email SOURCE obtained. “It should not be used to broadly infer what models of learning DESE might endorse for the fall including how frequently students will attend in-person school, class sizes, or student-teacher ratios.”

“Our initial fall guidance memo, which we are working on in earnest and will be released in the next week or two, will have additional information to support you on fall planning,” said the state to Superintendents in an email.

“Please wait for this guidance before rushing to any judgments about state requirements for fall re-opening,” said the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents to its members in an email.

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