Guidance on Policy Issues for the Pandemic

This document has been developed to act as a guide for school committees as your district develops and implements a back-to-school strategy. This task will require flexibility on the school committee’s part in schedules of meetings and the time commitment required to meet the deadlines established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Briefly, the following are the target dates for the Return-to-School plans and decisions related to them:

By July 31, 2020: Each school district must submit to the Department the three plans required. These plans should be presented to the school committee so they can share them with the community.

By August 10, 2020: Each school district has to submit the plan chosen for implementation to the Department. Since the plan will require amendments to existing policy as well as budget revisions/reallocations, this plan should be approved/endorsed by the school committee prior to its submission to the Department.

Between August 10, 2020 and the start of the school year (which may be delayed by up to 10 days to permit professional development and preparation based on the most recent announcements from DESE), the school committee may have to negotiate certain parts of the plan with the appropriate unions within their district. Every effort should be made to expedite these negotiations to ensure a timely opening of schools.

As the start of school approaches, the school committee will need to address revisions or waivers to some of the policies they have established as well as student handbook language. The policy areas to concentrate on are identified within this guidance document.

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