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COVID-19 FERPA FAQ

Remote learning implicates many issues related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records and prohibits school districts from disclosing personally identifiable information (“PII”) from a student’s education record without prior written consent or an applicable exception under FERPA.  Recently, the […]

Superintendents Must Hear Disciplinary Appeals Under 37H

On April 28, 2020, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) issued a decision regarding the delegation of a superintendent’s statutory authority to hear a student’s appeal from a principal’s decision under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H. In Doe v. Worcester Public Schools, SJC-12827, a student in the Worcester Public Schools was suspended for 152 […]

Remote Learning Update

On April 24, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued updated guidance for school administrators regarding remote learning. The updated guidance can be found here: 2020-0424updated-remote-learning.

EEOC Guidance Permits Employee COVID-19 Testing

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its COVID-19 related guidance to address the issue of employers testing employees for COVID-19. Specifically, the EEOC opined that “…employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of […]

Liz Valerio and Nick Dominello Presented at MASPA Webinar Responding to COVID-19 Issues in Schools

On April 17, 2020 Liz Valerio and Nick Dominello presented at the Massachusetts Association of School Personnel Administrator’s webinar, Responding to COVID-19 Issues in Schools. Topics discussed included: Families First Coronavirus Response Act, furloughs and layoffs, leaves of absence, transportation issues, school approved trips, educator misconduct and educator evaluations. The presentation can be found here.

Governor Extends School Closure Through Remainder of School Year

Today, Governor Charles D. Baker announced that Massachusetts private and public schools will remain closed though the end of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Baker stated that remote learning will continue in all districts. Governor Baker also stated that DESE will soon be launching a remote learning initiative and advisory […]

U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Approves Massachusetts Waiver Required for ESSA Grants and DESE Releases Grant Guidance

On April 8, 2020, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) received approval from the DOE for specific waivers offered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Massachusetts was granted numerous waivers including: Fiscal Year 2019 ESSA funds may be used until September 30, 2021; DESE may waive the 15% […]

Federal Government Passes CARES Act to Address COVID-19 Crisis

On March 27, 2020, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act responsive to the current COVID-19 epidemic.  The Act affords economic relief to individuals, small businesses, hospitals and public health facilities, food security efforts, state and local governments, and education. State and Local Governments The Act designates funding to […]

Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Department of Labor (“DOL)” recently issued guidance addressing the exclusion of health care providers and emergency responders from the benefits of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and an exemption for small business. Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders An employer may exclude health care providers and emergency responders from: (a) family and […]

COVID-19 and Copyright Concerns

Pursuant to Governor Charles D. Baker’s March 25, 2020 order which requires all schools in the Commonwealth to remain closed until May 4, 2020, many districts are opting to engage in remote learning. While remote learning is an essential and helpful tool, it also poses unique challenges to school districts. Many districts and their educators […]

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