DOE Gives Schools Choice for ESY
June 16, 2020
Decision to reopen is up to the individual schools and districts
On Friday, June 12th, the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) released guidance that allows Extended School Year (ESY) services for children with disabilities to be provided in-person as of July 6. The guidance states that schools can provide ESY services in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both.
If a school provides in-person ESY services, they must follow the guidelines that were set by the Department of Health for the re-opening of summer camps. The guidance also states that schools can provide some services through in-person home instruction in accordance with existing regulations.
In a recent meeting with DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet and his colleagues, Autism New Jersey advocated for the many children who are experiencing a rapid regression and an increase in their severe challenging behavior that is causing physical harm to themselves and family members. The Commissioner and his colleagues share our and families’ concerns and are encouraging local case managers and IEP teams to deliver services to the greatest extent possible per the federal pandemic guidance.
What families should expect
Given all the pandemic safety concerns, the Governor and the DOE have been clear that the decision on how ESY services are delivered is up to each individual school or school district. Opening for in-person services is not a mandate, and in fact, many schools have opted to continue with remote instruction.
We encourage families to contact their children’s schools to inquire about how they will be conducting ESY programming this summer. We will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates as they are available.
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Autism New Jersey will continue to follow recommendations from the CDC and state Department of Health as the state begins to move through the stages of reopening.
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We remain focused on our mission to be a resource for the autism community. We recognize that there are many questions and complex considerations, and we are working hard to address these substantial issues and provide our expertise and stakeholder perspectives as plans are developed. We encourage you to regularly visit our central hub of coronavirus resources for the autism community.