The following is a statement from Norfolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ingrid Allardi and Director of Student Support Services Dr. Anna Tupper:
“We would like to notify our school community that the Norfolk Public Schools is in full compliance with state and federal special education requirements.
“In May, the district was informed by the state that we are not to enforce waivers that were generated upon the advice of our legal counsel early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The waiver was strictly intended to address unique issues that may arise as a result of hosting meetings via a virtual platform.
“Upon learning from the state of the procedural error, immediate corrective action was taken and all affected families were notified of the situation. We will continue to devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that our special education students receive all of the services that they are entitled to receive and that parents remain active partners in planning for their child’s education.
“On behalf of the district, we wish to sincerely apologize to the families affected by the virtual team meeting consent form. We were acting on the advice of counsel while dealing with a globally unprecedented health crisis that has significantly impacted every school district in the state.
“Further, we continue to abide by all state and federal guidelines as they pertain to the delivery of both special education and general education services.
“Throughout this pandemic, our special education learning community, parents/caregivers and special education providers have shown tremendous professionalism, positive attitudes, collaborative efforts and strong home/school communication enabling us to provide special education students with appropriate educational services during a very challenging time. We would like to commend Norfolk’s learning community for their outstanding efforts! We look forward to continuing to promote these efforts in the 2020/2021 school year. We are in this together and we are stronger together.
“We appreciate the feedback and support of all our families as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters. Additionally, we are working diligently to plan for the 2020/2021 school year and we will continue to communicate our plans on a regular basis.
“If anyone has any concerns, they should feel free to reach out to Dr. Tupper’s office directly at 508-541-5478 x 2248.”