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Resources, news and updates for Massachusetts school districts regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.
MASC is in the process of compiling a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help members navigate issues surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. View the list here.
STATE GOVERNMENT RESOURCES:
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES:
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During the next few weeks, School Committees will be deciding whether masks will be required on school property for all or some students and staff in the 2021-2022 school year.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have all recommended that masks or face coverings be worn in school buildings and on school grounds. While each agency strongly recommends the wearing of masks, each stopped short of requiring them. This has forced local school committees to make the determination.
DESE Commissioner Riley has shared updated guidance from DESE on In-Person Learning and Student Learning Time Requirements. The updates are available for download using the following links:
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.
As the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) prepares final guidance for districts to use in reopening schools in September 2020, many school committee members have raised questions and sought advice from MASC.
This is a time of uncertainty and extraordinary challenges for everyone associated with public schools. The COVID-19 situation imposes almost daily changes in how we plan for September. School committee members have a unique role to play not only as policy makers with fiduciary responsibilities for the education of children, but also as community leaders to whom parents, neighbors, and students turn for answers. You may join with your superintendents to provide a thoughtful and responsible information and advice to your constituents or to those who contact you.
Since the state has explained that considerable discretion will be given to districts regarding the opening of school, you should work with your superintendent to develop the plan that works most effectively and safely for your children and families.
MASC has developed this advisory to help you navigate the potentially rough and uncharted routes to a successful school opening and a solid 2020-2021 school year. We will be updating this document as members raise new questions or as events develop.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MIT Teaching Systems Lab reviewed state education agency guidance to identify areas of consensus and emerging practices. The report, Remote Learning Guidance from State Education Agencies During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A First Look, provides objective recommendations and best practices for state education agencies providing remote learning guidance during COVID-19 school closures.
Massachusetts fulfills 16 out of 21 criteria outlined in the report, ranking the state second in the nation.
The report and datasets are available here.
To: Massachusetts School Committee Members
From: Deborah Davis, President, MASC
As the uncertainly surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on the education of our students continues, families, employees and the community are looking to their school district leadership teams to provide a unified message.
Meetings, events, and normal routines are being disrupted worldwide. Providing education and delivering services will look different than before. Implementing any changes will require surmounting new challenges with determination and patience. Among the many concerns are: ensuring that in the interests of equity, we are looking out for our most vulnerable students, maintaining individualized instruction for students with disabilities, providing nutrition and support for our most vulnerable students and reaching non-English speaking populations with appropriately translated messaging. And this is just the tip of the iceberg for our school districts.
The school committee and superintendent have vital and unique roles to play as this unprecedented event unfolds. With the situation changing daily, however, best practices are as important as ever.
Here’s what school committee members can do to best serve their district.