Preliminary Summer Information with Further Information to Follow

June 6, 2020

Dear families,

I hope you are having a nice weekend so far. As we shared last week, we
have been anxiously awaiting State level guidance about Massachusetts day
schools’ permission and requirements related to summer instruction in order
to finalize our summer scheduling. On Thursday evening, Massachusetts
issued initial State level guidance that reflected a positive trajectory
toward the State’s ability to approve schools to move toward reentry. The
State provided initial approval guidelines that will allow day schools to
offer onsite instruction this summer at a very restricted capacity, if
schools assess that they are able to do so safely and feasibly in their
setting. This would allow for a hybrid model of instruction, with partial
onsite instruction and remote learning during the rest of the school week. In
particular, schools were urged to offer the approved level of onsite
instruction this summer, if possible, especially for populations in need of
high support such as special education students.

Initial Guidance: DESE reviewed this initial guidance with Special
Education school leaders yesterday, and Milestones is optimistic about our
ability to participate in a safe onsite reentry, at the approved capacity,
this summer. However, DESE will be issuing further detailed guidelines for
special education programs’ requirements on Tuesday (June 9th), which will
need to be fully implemented prior to students’ reentry. We understand
that scheduling information is very time-sensitive for your work and
childcare commitments, and that our students benefit from advanced
previewing. Our task force is continuing to actively prepare for reentry
to the best of our abilities, and we too are eager as the end of our
present school year for students and staff is approaching quickly. By
the middle to end of this upcoming week, we will provide you more detailed
scheduling/timing information after we are able to review the forthcoming
guidelines’ implementation and assurances.

Restricted Capacity/Limitations to Assist with Your Planning: During
this initial period of reentry this summer, schools will only be permitted
to allow up to 25% of students onsite at any given time (with the remaining
75% needing to participate in remote instruction). In accordance with
these State guidelines but to maximize opportunities for all students, our
intention will be to arrange schedules so that all students will have the
opportunity to have a small portion of onsite learning each week, with the
majority of time as remote learning. Within our classrooms, Milestones’
program already exceeds the guideline for limited student to staff ratio
requirements that have been established. We are presently working to
finalize our preferred scheduling model for summer, and we’ll be able to
review this with families later this upcoming week after we receive the
forthcoming special education guidelines.

Health, Safety and Support: As you would anticipate, health, safety and
support for students, families and staff will be a priority during reentry
and once onsite. All schools will have some updated guidelines and
restrictions, including but not limited to: promoting social distancing,
practicing healthy hygiene, fulfilling building cleaning and safety
protocols, nursing regimens, and more rigorous requirements regarding
illness. As one example, off site field trips, which students are
typically accustomed to in the summertime, are not permitted this summer by
the State. Milestones will instead offer “virtual field trips” and other
creative programming. Prior to reentry these guidelines will, of course,
be shared with families, and our faculty will be thoughtfully working
together to preview with students.

Fall Planning: Please note that the guidelines that have been shared
thus far pertain only to the initial summer approvals, and Fall guidelines
will be issued at a later date.

We truly appreciate families’ patience as the State has been working to
safely prioritize phases for reentry. We understand that there will be
students and families who were hoping that schools would be approved to be
fully onsite this summer. Summers at Milestones are always so momentous!
But we are very encouraged that the positive trends in Massachusetts are
enabling our students to begin to gradually transition back this summer,
and we anticipate that students and families will be pleased that we are
proceeding toward safe, gradual onsite involvement with your students.
Should you have any further questions related to reentry, you’re welcome to
contact me directly as case managers are busily engaged in end of the year
programming for students.


The Milestones Team