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A COVID-19 Summer Awaits

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Inside our Final Issue of the 2019/2020 School Year:

  • A Summer Services Q&A for our Norfolk Families from Dr. Anna Eberwein-Tupper, Director of Student Support Services. The district continues to await full DESE guidance for extended school year services. The information in this newsletter is the  district's response to partial DESE guidance issued by the state on June 7, 2020.  If anything changes when full guidance is received, we will update the community.

  • Parent Education: Resources for talking with your children about recent events and changes they are experiencing and ideas for easing the anxiety surrounding us.

  • New Private Facebook Group For parents raising children who access the special education resources in the Norfolk Public School System.

  • SEPAC Help Needed: Please join the SEPAC in any way you can. We are looking for people to fill positions or just be voting members of our board. The time commitment is as little or as much as you can give!

  • SEPAC Book of the Month: ABC Worry Free by Noel Foy

**Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!**


A Special Extended School Year Message

From Dr. Anna Eberwein-Tupper, Director of Student Support Services at Norfolk Public Schools

Dear Friends,

Below please find a question and answer sheet with regard to Extended School Year Services (ESY) for the summer of 2020 that has been posed by your fellow SEPAC members. Feel free at any point to contact me with questions surrounding your ESY services. We understand that this summer follows an unprecedented school year and that each family will make decisions that are right for them, as it pertains to accessing summer services. Please know that your decisions, whatever they may be, will be respected.

I am in the office for the majority of the summer - feel free to call me at (508) 541-5478 x 2248 with any question(s). We are here to help and support you and your child(ren)!


1. What will ESY remote learning look like during the summer of 2020?

Each student who has Extended School Year (ESY) recommended on their IEP will have an “individual” remote learning plan for this summer, similar to remote learning plans offered in the spring. The plan is developed with input from the student’s special education providers. It is a plan sent to parents, notifying them of a modified schedule of services for their child to support “maintenance” of skill.

This summer, Extended School Year Services (ESY) will take place between July 6 - August 6, 2020, Monday - Thursday.

As a general rule of thumb, most summer services will be offered remotely this year.

Extended School Year Services may look like one of the following three models:

  1. Academic Tutoring - Will be offered remotely and live during the summer.

  2. Related Services - Will be offered remotely and live during the summer. Some students will receive supplemental resources and support, which families can access when convenient for them.

  3. Camp - Will be offered remotely through live sessions conducted in small or individual groups. Additionally, supplemental resources and support will be available on individual student google classrooms. Most camps will have 1 hour of live instruction a day (combination of small group/individual) with supplemental resources and support available for parents to access as convenient.

2. Will there be any live sessions?

Yes, there will be live sessions offered remotely by special education providers in our district in a format similar to our spring session.

3. Is there any possibility there might be in-person services? What if some were held outside?

With a traditional model, planning for summer is quite involved. Our nontraditional 2020 summer model, with guidance only being issued recently (June 7th), and stringent guidelines in place for social distancing, logistically creates difficulty in bringing back students.

With that being said, we are currently trying to determine if we can bring back our highest need students for special education services. This is contingent upon having supplies and protective gear to support Massachusetts state guidance issued through DESE, the Department of Public Health (DPH), Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, that were recently issued on June 7th.

The complicated part of this guidance is the time it takes to secure the correct materials and supplies. We have been working collaboratively with Mr. Haffner, director of facilities management to order the correct protective gear. We also have to train staff working with students around guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Public Health (DPH). We are currently awaiting a “train the trainer” module from DESE/CDC to support training our nurses who in turn will train our staff (those working on site).

Additionally, we are required to run our plans by the Department of Health. We currently have some PPE gear and cleaning supplies allowing us to consider some on site summer programming. Our summer coordinators, Mrs. Levy and Mrs. Muirhead, have worked with parents of high needs students to create on site schedules. We are patiently waiting for a “train the trainer” module for nurses as a next and final step.

It’s been a lot, in a short period of time, but we are getting there! The state proposed an anticipated start date of July 6th, should districts be able to respond to the specific guidance issued by the above organization.

I wish we could bring back all of our students. The quick turnaround time with regard to our guidance, ordering the supplies that we can currently access, and training for staff is trickling in - please know that we are doing our best, and your patience has been greatly appreciated.

4. Can we opt out of remote but change our mind if we go onsite?

Parents are able to “opt out of remote” services, similar to “opting out” of IEP services. Just email your summer liaison, identified in your child’s remote learning plan, or Mrs. Levy (, Mrs. Muirhead ( the summer coordinators, or myself (

If your child meets the criterion for “on site” services and your family decides to access only those services happening physically in the building, while rejecting remote services, that is permissible.

We understand that the past 14 weeks of remote learning had a different impact on each family and that some may choose to make a decision that is best for their child that looks different than what the district is recommending. That may mean you may choose to “opt into” ESY services, or “opt out.” Either is okay and we respect each family’s decision.

It has been an unprecedented time period and you have to make the decisions that are right for your child(ren)/family. Your decisions will be respected. If you feel that you need a break from remote learning this summer - we understand.

Feel free to reach out if you would like to further address this question or if we can help you with your decision.

5. If we opt-out this year, does it affect next summer's services?

No - not at all. The full array of special education services identified on your child’s IEP will be up and running upon school’s reentry whether you opt in or out of summer services.

Your child’s team does have to recommend ESY for 2021, but this will not be contingent upon your acceptance/rejection of ESY for 2020. If your child’s team determines that he/she qualifies for extended school year services for 2021, they will be eligible to receive them again, next summer no matter your decision for this school year.

6. Is there anything that parents can do to support any possibility of in person sessions for the ESY - such as donating PPE, Cleaning Supplies, and/or doing a “PPE for ESY” fundraiser?

Thank you so much for this question! The support that our department has received during this period of remote learning has been incredible!

The best way to support our department this summer is to continue to support your child - read daily to him/her, listen to books on tape, practice your math fluency facts in fun ways, take a field trip and ask your child about their experience, paint rocks, grow a garden, keep a giving jar with the goal of a purchase or donation, have your child face time his/her grandparent, go to the beach, take a swim, hike a new trail, build a campfire and roast a marshmallow, make and take a picnic lunch somewhere new, journal - all within the context of fun.

Our students had a tremendous change to their environments this year - actively listening to them, creating semi structures for the summer (loose, with some structure and built in choices), and just “enjoying them” are the best way to support! From a mother of 3 older children - time with your children flies by - summer is a gift. Enjoy it! ~Anna

The Norfolk SEPAC thanks Dr. Tupper for taking the time to answer our questions and for all the work she and her amazing staff do every day for our students! Thank you Dr. Tupper!


Parent Education

With school ending we are now entering a new phase of life with social distanced summer plans and changes to the quarantine routines our children have become used to. Children can become anxious that their school schedule (however it looked!) is changing again and that there is no fixed end date. Summer plans have been cancelled and changed and we still can't get together in large groups. Here are some resources that might help!

Resources for children about Summer with Coronavirus /COVID-19

  • Free Social Stories: Check out this website for an amazing amount of free printable social stories to use with any child to help ease anxiety around new environments and wearing masks: Click Here

  • A fantastic article on how to host your own summer camp! Expand your ideas about summer fun and give your kids (and yourself) a little room to grow. Click Here

  • Give yourself a guilt-free parenting break with this list of 150 Educational Shows on Netflix! Click Here

  • Concerned about how to talk to your kids about racism? Sesame Street recently did a town hall with CNN and you can watch the entire show here: Click Here



New SEPAC Facebook Group - Norfolk MA Special Education Parent Support Group

The group is hosted by the Norfolk Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) and is not affiliated in any way with the Norfolk Public School System.

The Norfolk SEPAC is a volunteer-run community group in Norfolk, Massachusetts, for parents raising children who access the special education resources in the Norfolk Public School System. Our mission for this group is to provide a safe & welcoming place for parents to connect with one another for support, resources, and balance, through our online group and offline events. Want to join? Please answer all the required membership questions or email us at Thanks!


The Norfolk SEPAC is looking for volunteers!

Interested in getting more involved in the Norfolk Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC)? We are looking to fill the following positions for the 2020- 2021 school year:

Chair of Marketing - Support in marketing upcoming programs, events, and workshops, etc. (i.e. create flyers) - Coordinate with Chair of Technology on marketing strategy for upcoming programs, workshops, and events - Maintain Norfolk SEPAC Eventbrite - Coordinate preparation of the monthly newsletter

Fundraising Coordinator - Coordinate fundraising efforts across SEPAC workshops and events as needed

Volunteer Outreach -Solicit volunteers for SEPAC workshops and events as needed

General Board Member - Duties as needed and assigned by Board - Attend at least 1 SEPAC General Meeting and volunteer for at least one SEPAC workshop or event Eligibility for the SEPAC Board and Liaison roles shall be limited to any general member who is a Norfolk resident AND a parent/guardian of a student receiving Special Education Services in Norfolk.



Please email if you are interested or have any questions!

SEPAC Board Elections were held at the May 5, 2020 SEPAC Board Meeting and the following positions were filled for the 2020/2021 school year:

Co-Chair(s): Jo-Anne Gilbody and Karen Murphy Chair of Technology: Taiese Hickman Chair of Operations: Mike McCarthy Chair of Finance: Karen Mazzolla Secretary: Kayla Costa Board Member: Stefanie Durniok


SEPAC Book of the Month

With anxiety among children at double-digit growth, adults are looking for tools children can adopt into their daily practice to manage those feelings. Using a clear three-step plan to shift their perspective on anxious or fearful thoughts, children can regain control over the vicious anxiety cycle. A special section for adults provides evidence-based tips for helping children develop the skills necessary to face and overcome worries and fears.


Our Mission

The Norfolk Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) strives to collaborate with and advise the school committee and administration to continually improve the education opportunities for all children in and outside of our school district. We promote improved education and success for students with disabilities, ensuring they receive equal access to education opportunities within our school and community. The Norfolk SEPAC provides a network for parents of children with disabilities to access resources, gain support, and share ideas. SEPAC encourages families to be involved in all district policy discussions.

Contact Us:

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