Summer Scheduling Information
June 12, 2020
We are proud to share that this week our team at Milestones has continued to work actively and efficiently toward preparing our staff and students for a safe and restricted onsite reentry this summer. Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued their second set of summer-related guidance that was specific to special education. Milestones has already completed our model and schedule for summer instruction in accordance with the State guidelines.
Furthermore, we are also making very steady progress with related building preparations, protocol refinement, acquisition of safety equipment supplies (PPE), and staff training based on the initial State guidelines that have been issued. All the while, we continue to be keeping our students at the forefront, as we are supporting and celebrating our students through their end of the year programming, services, and ceremonies.
An integral remaining piece, however, is that DESE has not yet issued its final set of statewide comprehensive summer guidelines that will specify all final requirements that schools must implement and affirm prior to reentry (e.g., additional staff training, required policies, required safety procedures etc). We have been notified that this final comprehensive guidance may be issued after Milestones is closed for school vacation.
Timing: Because we are awaiting final guideline requirements from theState, Milestones has confirmed that all students will receive full remote learning for the first week of summer programming (July 6th-10th). This will allow us to work to implement the remaining requirements when were turn from our school vacation and to thoughtfully preview with students and families. We intend to shift to offer our hybrid schedule of remote and onsite instruction as quickly as possible, which may begin as early as the second week of school (July 13th -17th) if we are safely and feasibly able to complete all of the forthcoming DESE final summer reentry requirements in order to do so. Families and out of district liaisons will be provided advanced notice in order for districts to work with families regarding transportation needs.
Hybrid Model: As we shared last week, schools are only permitted to have up to 25% of students onsite at any given time this summer. DESE has also recommended that any onsite instruction takes place for only 3-4 hours per day to limit exposure. We are going to divide our students into 4 cohorts (each comprised of select homeroom groupings). Each cohort will have the opportunity to come onsite for instruction on one assigned day per week (on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) from the hours of 8:30am-12:30pm. On the remaining 4 days of the week, students will continue to receive a robust schedule of programming and services remotely. Families and districts will receive updated remote learning plan information regarding your student’s summer programming and services. Milestones will be scheduled to have deep cleaning/sanitization each night this summer between cohorts (Monday-Friday), and additional cleaning measures will be taking place during the day. Onsite staff will also be assigned to specific teams, such that most staff will be assigned onsite just 1 day per week (with the exception of select clinical/behavior support team members who will be assigned onsite more often for as-needed assistance). This highly consistent model affords the opportunity for all students to participate in a small portion of onsite learning (if their family is comfortable) on a weekly basis, which will help to prepare students for fall programming and allows us to maximize social distancing while limiting staff and student exposure.
Parent/Guardian Choice Regarding Onsite Instruction: DESE and Milestones understand that there may be families who are not yet comfortable sending their student to school onsite summer. This will not be a problem. In such instances, families may opt for their student to continue to receive full remote learning instead.
Principal Letter to Preview Expectations: We understand that families and students naturally will have many questions regarding upcoming practices, protocols, and restrictions that will need to be put into place to support health and safety. Kirsten will be sharing a letter with all families very shortly (prior to the end of the school year) that will preview key expectations. After we return from school vacation, Milestones will provide additional information to families from our school nurse and our internal task-force team that will reflect final reentry expectations and guidelines for parents and students on behalf of DESE and Milestones.
Surveying Families About Onsite Instruction and Issuing Schedules: Next week our Executive Assistant (Brittany Asselin) will also survey families to assess if you are planning (or still deciding) to have your student participate in onsite instruction this summer. Families will also be provided with specific summer scheduling information for your student. This will include confirming the specific day of the week that your student’s homeroom has been assigned for onsite instruction this summer (during the hours of 8:30am-12:30pm).
As before, families are welcome to contact me directly at any time with questions regarding our reentry planning as case managers are busily engaged with students in our end of the year programming and planning for summer instruction. During this unprecedented period, we are here to support not only our students but also our staff and families.
Have a wonderful weekend, and we are continuing to look forward to welcoming our students back!