A meeting of the New York State Board of Regents was held today, via videoconference and available to the public via live stream.  During the meeting, an overview of SED’s reopening guidelines was presented to the Board of Regents by SED’s Reopening Task Force. A recording of this meeting will be made available on our Authorizer Update page later today. Note that what was shared today is a summary of the full guidance, which will be released in its entirety on Wednesday.

Timeline for Guidance and Submission of Plans

  • 7/15: Guidance will be officially released

  • 7/17: The SED Portal for submission of plans will open

  • 7/31: Submission Deadline

All schools including charters must submit plans that incorporate the mandatory elements of the Guidance Document. Schools must post plans to their websites so parents and the public can access the plans.

The slides reviewed by the Regents outlining the guidance are available here and here. For most charter schools, many of the considerations outlined in the guidance framework will feel very familiar to the continuity of learning plans that were submitted to authorizers as part of the initial school closures.

In the nine categories that the Task Force used to frame their guidance, there are a few early headlines, namely:

  • Health and Safety- Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings or other appropriate PPE according to role, and schools will be required to implement health screenings and have the ability to isolate staff or students exhibiting symptoms of COVID.

  • Transportation/Facilities/Nutrition- Transportation requirements for students, including charter students, will be continued.  Each district will be required to develop a transportation plan.

  • Teaching and Learning- Significant emphasis was placed on equitable instruction for all students, as well as substantive daily interaction with all students, regardless of instructional method (in-person, remote or hybrid).

  • Digital Equity and Access- Schools and districts will be responsible for having knowledge of and, to the extent practicable, address the need to provide devices to students and teachers who currently don’t have sufficient access.

  • Budget and Fiscal- No changes to required reporting is anticipated.

  • Social-emotional needs- While not outlined in the materials, the suggestion was made that each student have a staff “ally” who has specific responsibility for ensuring the social-emotional wellbeing of that student.  The full guideline materials will make clear if this is a required component of plans or an illustrative suggestion.

  • Attendance: Schools will be required to “develop a mechanism” to report daily attendance or engagement.

  • Special Education- The guidelines prioritize in-person services for high-needs students and preschools students with disabilities wherever possible.

  • Bilingual Education/MLL/ELL- There will be an update to the identification timeline for newly enrolled students.

  • Staffing/Human Resources- Some additional flexibility will be available in terms of staffing regarding certification.  It remains to be seen the impact this will have on charter certification requirements specifically.

Today at 11:30, the Governor will hold a press conference where he is expected to address the reopening guidance.  Please keep an eye out for an update following his address.

During our weekly Tuesday webinar, we will discuss this newly released guidance and the submission of reopening plans.

To join the July 14, 4 pm webinar, use the information below:

The Regents are also scheduled to consider the following charter actions. Following the meeting, we will post an update about these charter actions to our Authorizer Updates page.

  • Bronx Lighthouse Charter School: seeks approval to dissolve its relationship with the Charter Management Organization Lighthouse Academies, Inc., and change the school name to Pharos Academy Charter School. Read the full item here.

  • Stradford Preparatory Charter School for Boys: seeks to replace the School Empowerment Network (SEN) with BRICK Education Network, Inc. as its institutional partner. The school is currently located in NYC CSD 9 (Bronx) and was approved to relocate to NYC CSD 11 (Bronx). Read the full item here.

  • ESSA reporting: will require that charter schools submit school-level expenditure data to the Department, pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation Section 170.14, through the ESSA Fiscal Transparency Portal commencing on November 1, 2020 (using 2019-2020 school year data) and each November 1 thereafter (using the preceding school year’s data). Read the full item here.

We will continue to bring you summaries of meetings of the Board of Regents in the months ahead.