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What are mask guidelines during the summer? What if my child can't attend in-person in the fall?

More from DESE on summer COVID ESY guidelines and In-person learning for the fall.

Summer learning: ESY is here. Hopefully your child is either actively attending ESY or is all set to begin soon. Masks are no longer required. It is encouraged and recommended by the State that school districts adhere to the same guidelines that were in place in the spring, but it is ultimately each district's preference how it conduct its program over the summer.

My understanding from parents is that most districts are mask-free. If your child has a medical condition that makes it unsafe or impossible to attend in-person, then in-home ESY, tutoring, or other options should be discussed with your child’s Team to see what’s available to see how (not if) your child’s services will be implemented.

In-person/Remote School for the fall: Yes, school will be in-person. There is no choice of in-person/remote/hybrid (unless exempted due to a medical condition - see below) and there are no more remote learning plans - just IEPs.

If your child has a medical condition that makes it unsafe or impossible to attend school in-person in the fall, then there is a form (“Physician's Affirmation of Medical Reasons That Student is Likely to Remain at Home, in a Hospital, or in a Pediatric Nursing Home for More than 60 School Days Form”) on the DESE website that a physician needs to complete that says your child will be out of school for more than 60 days due to a medical condition and cannot attend school. This is only for children on IEPs. The law (603 CMR sec. 28.04(4)) says that once the school receives this completed form from the doctor, "… the Administrator of Special Education shall, without undue delay, convene a Team to consider evaluation needs and, if appropriate, to amend the existing IEP or develop a new IEP suited to the student's unique circumstances.” You should discuss how (not if) to proceed with home learning, live streaming, or remote learning. In-home learning should always be a consideration. In-person learning for siblings of medically compromised students is also something that should be discussed with your district.

For more information (there’s always more!), please feel free to contact me. It may be July, but it’s never too early to get your ducks in a row for the fall and/or your annual Team meeting.

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