MASSACHUSETTS — Executive Director Kevin Farr is pleased to share the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) guidance for career and vocational technical schools as they prepare their reopening plans for the fall.
Career and vocational technical schools are required to follow state employee health, protection, guidance and prevention guidelines amid COVID-19, as well as the mandatory safety standards for workplaces reopening and sector-specific protocols and best practices. This includes following guidance issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In addition, districts must also follow the previously issued reopening guidance by DESE for the fall. Click here to view the state’s initial guidance.
Multiple members of MAVA participated in the statewide committee to provide their input to DESE as the guidance was crafted. The names and titles of those individuals have been bolded in the full list of committee members below:
- Tom Belland, Vocational Director, Blackstone Valley Technical High School
- Barbara Jean Chauvin, Vocational Director, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School
- Kathleen Duff, Vocational Director, Newton North High School
- Jon Evans, Superintendent, Keefe Technical High School
- Christopher Faucher, Assistant Vocational Director, Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School
- Joshua Greely, Vocational Director, Upper Cape Cod Technical High School
- Thomas Hickey, Superintendent, South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School
- James Hachey, Vocational Director, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School
- Andrew Linkenhoker, Superintendent, Smith Regional and Agricultural High School
- Karen Maguire, Vocational Director, Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School
- Tony McIntosh, Vocational Director, Keefe Technical High School
- Denise Pigeon, Superintendent, Nashoba Valley Technical High School
- Cathie Rebelo, Vocational Director, Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School
- Heidi Riccio, Superintendent, Essex North Shore Agricultural Technical High School
- Jill Sawyer, Vocational Director, Essex North Shore Agricultural Technical High School
- Jeff Scheminger, Vocational Director, Nashoba Valley Technical High School
- William Terranova, Principal, Cape Cod Technical High School
- Mark Wood, Principal, Tantasqua Regional Vocational Technical High School
- Kevin Farr, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators
- Peter Dewar, Assistant Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators
- Elizabeth L. Bennett, Associate Commissioner of College, Career, and Technical Education, DESE
- Judith L. Klimkiewicz, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, DESE
- David Edmonds, Office of College, Career and Technical Education, DESE
- Jennifer Appleyard, Office of College, Career and Technical Education, DESE
“Career and vocational technical schools are facing a swath of additional challenges as they consider how they may reopen their schools while prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty and staff,” Farr said. “In an environment where students need to be in various shops, working often with shared equipment and in programs that regularly rely on group work, this pandemic presents a profound challenge, and we’re thankful DESE collaborated with many vocational administrators statewide to generate guidance that applies directly to these unique circumstances.”
The guidance provides industry specific, preliminary guidance for several programs of study that offer services to the public, including the culinary arts, early education and care, cosmetology, automotive technology and automotive collision and graphic communications and marketing. Such programs must limit service to students or staff, offer contact-free pickup or provide services by appointment only depending on the industry, and will also be asked to implement new procedures to promote social distancing, end or minimize interactions with the public.
The guidance additionally provides information to help districts navigate whether and how they may offer exploratory, cooperative education, clinical placement and internship opportunities to students amid COVID-19. Co-op placements and internships will be limited to members of the senior class, and students will not be able to obtain positions at clinical sites for health careers, however, due to COVID-19.
The state’s guidance includes:
- Seeking methods to support continued student collaboration while meeting all safety and health guidelines, as group projects are a key aspect of vocational technical education.
- Students and staff must have proper eye protection and hand coverings.
- Districts are advised to hold COVID-19 safety training outlining new protocols to reduce risk of exposure to the virus.
- Outdoor work spaces should be utilized where possible.
- Districts must minimize the use of shared equipment and materials when possible, and minimize the personal belongings students bring onsite. This means students should come to school prepared for their program and in uniform daily, and use of lockers may be reduced.
To view the guidance in full, click here.