Letter to Special Ed Families Regarding COVID-19 Closure
We are entering into unprecedented times and we will be out of school for the next three weeks. The guidance we are getting from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is this time off will be viewed the same as snow days. Schools are going to be providing enrichment activities to keep the students engaged but it will not be counted as time on learning. We understand that our students with disabilities are at risk for regression during breaks in school. We want to provide resources and support to our families during this difficult time. We do understand that maintaining a regular school-type schedule may be difficult to do at home when school is canceled. We hope that the following resources will support you and your child in doing activities that keep your child thinking and learning while we are out of school.
- FIRST here is the link to the Haverhill Public Schools for the most up to date information: https://home.haverhill-ps.org/.
- There is also a section on our web site listing “Supportive Home Learning Resources.” Here is the link: http://www.haverhill-ps.org/supportive-home-learning-resources/.
- Here is a link to a google document that will hold all of the resources for families. We are constantly getting updated resources, such as offerings from educational companies with free resources. As those become, available they will be posted here. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UJuCIDCPi90ZV1bhT0MAZtKOiLglbzw26GhjMRcDH5Y/edit?usp=sharing
Listed below is information on some questions we have already received from parents. Please note this information is aligned with the guidance we have received from DESE.. All information is subject to change as we get more information and guidance from DESE. We will send out any new information as we receive it.
New Referrals/Initial Eligibility:
Haverhill Public Schools, along with other schools in the commonwealth, will freeze evaluation, referral, and plan distribution timelines for all students in a referral cycle during school closure. This means that as soon as schools open again, the timelines will commence as is required by state and federal regulations.
Annual Reviews/Evaluations in Process:
Haverhill Public Schools, along with other schools in the commonwealth, will freeze evaluation, referral, annual review, and plan distribution timelines for all students on IEPs and 504s during school closure. When schools open again, the timelines will commence as is required by state and federal regulations.
Special Education and Related Services:
At this point, we are not providing direct services to students. We will be working to provide resources and enrichment activities to families. After the extended closure, we will review the impact of the closure on students and programs.
Should you or a member of your family experience a worsening mental health problem, or symptoms that need additional support; first try contacting you or your child’s existing community-based mental health practitioner. Many community-based therapists will be continuing services remotely through the use of “tele-health” supports like phones, laptops etc.
If you or a member of your family experience a mental health crisis and do not feel safe, contact Lahey Crisis Hotline: 978-521-7777. The hotline is open 24 /7, and can arrange for you or your child to receive an emergency mental health screening in your local area.
In the event of a mental health emergency where you or a member of your family is acting unsafe, please contact 911 immediately.
Please feel free to send us updates and messages! We would love to stay in touch with everyone! We hope everyone stays healthy and we can’t wait to see all of our students again!
-Pam MacDonald, Deb Ibanez & the rest of the Central Office Special Education Staff