Minnesota Department of Education updates Summer Programming Guidance

Minnesota Department of Education updates Summer Programming Guidance

The Minnesota Department of Education updated its Minnesota Summer Programming Guidance for Schools.

Here’s what’s new in the May 26 version:

Under Summer Learning Overview (Page 5):

The purpose of this guidance is to ensure equitable programming for all students. Some districts or charter schools may choose to offer differentiated programming to specific grade levels (e.g., offering hybrid programming to grades K-8, and distance learning to grades 9-12). This is acceptable as long as all students within a specific grade level are receiving equitable opportunities.

New section: In-School Special Education Services (Page 13)

Beginning during summer learning and Extended School Year, a school district or charter school may provide in-school special education services, and assessments or observations needed for special education evaluations. Under no circumstances should school staff provide special education services at the student’s home or place of residence.

Students, staff, and families shall follow MDH Guidance for Social Distancing in Youth and Student Programs including utilizing a health check for students and staff prior to entering the school and social distancing at least six feet of separation at all times. Also, please review MDH face covering guidance to determine if face coverings, including masks would be appropriate and necessary while providing services.  

The only way to protect students and staff from infection in the absence of social distancing is through the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). There is currently a nationwide shortage of PPE and most school staff are not properly trained on the proper use of PPE. It will not be possible for school districts and charter schools statewide to evaluate PPE needs, procure the appropriate PPE, and train staff on how to use the PPE before summer programming and ESY begins. Therefore, if services cannot be provided in a way that allows for social distancing, the in-school services cannot be provided.

School districts are highly encouraged to complete initial Part C and Part B initial evaluations/reevaluations that require in person assessments and observations during summer programming, in accordance with MDH guidance. Initial evaluations may be offered even if a district or charter school is not offering a hybrid instructional model.

Nothing in this guidance should be construed to encourage or require school staff, students, or families in at-risk categories to act inconsistently with public health recommendations or the advice of their medical providers.

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