On Sunday, March 15, Governor Baker announced a three-week suspension of all public and private schools (K-12, excluding residential and day schools for students with special needs) in the Commonwealth beginning Tuesday, March 17. The suspension applies to school operations for educational purposes. Which means that in some cases schools may remain open for purposes of provided essential non-educational services such as meals.
Although schools must suspend in-person educational operations, staff should be planning for how best to equitably provide alternative access to student learning opportunities during this period and potentially beyond. Equally important, school personnel should develop plans for ensuring to the greatest extent possible that families have access to essential non-academic services for their children – especially involving special education and food services for students who are most vulnerable.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will work in partnership with schools and districts to develop strategies and resources to sustain learning and vital services throughout this closure period. Already, DESE has received a partial waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture providing greater flexibility regarding food service in certain districts with higher concentrations of low-income students and is actively pursuing additional waivers for the remaining schools and districts.
A complete copy of the Governor’s press release is available here.