Extended School Year Services

Last Friday, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order stating that districts may provide Extended School Year services to students with disabilities who are otherwise eligible for them. The governor’s unexpected decision to permit in-person special education services despite closing schools for the current school year created rather involved conditions. We understood we would have to carefully review the situation in terms of many factors before deciding how to best proceed.

Over the last several days we have carefully reviewed all the information we had at our disposal. We have looked at issues pertaining to staffing, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), classroom and common area space configurations, and we have sought public health guidance from federal and state levels as well as our own district medical director and district medical staff. 

Following a very thorough review and discussions, we have concluded that Extended School Year (ESY) programming will be delivered through Distance Learning this summer. We will provide a blend of live instruction and self-paced learning activities in order to implement each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to the greatest extent possible, given the use of virtual instruction and the availability of staff. ESY will be in session July 6 – August 14, Monday through Friday.

The recently issued public health and safety requirements from the New York State Department of Health for interim in-person Special Education instruction require significant additional planning in the areas of staffing, physical space setup, personal protection, cleaning and disinfecting, bathroom protocols, and bus protocols. While Lakeland may be able to meet these requirements in time for the opening of school in September, it cannot be done by July 6th. We continue to develop a comprehensive reopening plan in coordination with all of the Westchester County School districts, which will ensure the safety of our students and staff. Providing ESY through Distance Learning was an extremely difficult decision. While we miss our students, it would not be appropriate to bring our students and our staff into school when we cannot meet the current DOH state requirements and are still awaiting NYSED guidance. Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on the social/emotional wellness of our students and families, this summer we will be providing ongoing support to the entire school community. We will be updating our website with resources and have counseling staff available. We will send out more details as we get closer to July. We will be sad not seeing you all in person this summer, but we look forward to “seeing” you virtually. As always, please reach out with any concerns or questions you may have.

Dr. Steve Rappleyea,
Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services