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NJDOE Issues Guidance on ESY 2020 During COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 12, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) provided guidance to school districts on the delivery of extended school year (“ESY”) services to eligible students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJDOE’s guidance was in response to the Governor’s recent Executive Order 149 allowing for in-person ESY programming beginning on or after July 6, 2020. Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and corresponding New Jersey regulations, once a school district determines that a student with disability requires additional educational services during the summer, the school district is required to include an ESY program as part of that student’s individualized education program (“IEP”). ESY programs usually operate in July and August.

According to the NJDOE’s guidance, school districts are not required to transition to in-person ESY, as the discretion is left to each individual school district. In considering whether a school district can or should operate an in-person ESY program, the NJDOE urges school districts to determine whether they can comply with the New Jersey COVID-19 Youth Summer Camp Standards issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”). In addition, the NJDOE encourages school districts to consider a combination of remote and in-person instruction during ESY. Further, the NJDOE suggests that in-person evaluations can resume during this period.

If a school district decides to provide any kind of in-person instruction during ESY, it must submit an attestation to the NJDOH confirming that it will follow all applicable standards. This attestation must be submitted 24 hours before the anticipated opening date.

The NJDOE also reminds school districts to consider educational equity, including access to technology and the rights of students with disabilities under the IDEA.

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Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

About the Author

About the Author:

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. concentrates her practice on the representation of boards of education and charter schools in all areas of school law including: labor and employment, special education, Section 504, student discipline, FERPA, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, student residency, civil rights, tenure, OPRA, and OPMA. In connection with these representations, she is experienced in handling matters before State and Federal courts, including the Office of Administrative Law. Ms. Dev is an experienced special education litigator and defends school districts in due process hearings from inception through trial. In addition, she has handled matters before governmental agencies, including the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Ms. Dev routinely conducts training and seminars, drafts policies and manuals, and provides strategic advice to school administrators regarding school law issues. Ms. Dev was recently recognized as one of South Jersey’s Awesome Attorneys as published by South Jersey Magazine. She is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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