Archive | September, 2020

Remote Learning Options and the Municipal Role in Approving Them

  • Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 Order #49 established expanded care options for the supervision of remote learning for school age children. The order allowed for the creation of “Remote Learning Enrichment Programs” (RLEPs) – and stipulated that these programs must be approved and monitored by municipalities in order for the MA Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to grant a waiver allowing these programs to operate. We have received numerous questions about the responsibilities of the municipalities with regards to approving and monitoring RLEPs, and have compiled the following guidance from EEC:
    • A brief summary of the 3 ways communities can support remote learning (expanded access to existing EEC licensed programs; new Remote Learning Enrichment Programs Exemption; and Remote Learning Parent Cooperatives) can be found by clicking here.
    • The Commonwealth is allowing many of the programs already licensed to care for children (e.g. daycares and after school programs) to provide expanded care during the school day, to assist with supervising remote learning. A brief summary of guidance for currently licensed EEC providers can be found by clicking here.
    • For municipalities which are themselves organizing RLEPs, or have community groups doing so, an overview of the Remote Learning Enrichment Programs Exemption, with links to the various processes in setting up an RLEP and the municipal paperwork involved can be found by clicking here (and scrolling down to the RLEP section).
      • The most extensive and detailed information from EEC about the role of a Municipal Approving Authority, outlining the steps a city or town must take to grant approval to a RLEP can be found here at this link.
    • Detailed health and safety guidance from EEC for child care providers can be found here.
    • Once a municipality has approved a RLEP, that program can then apply to EEC for a waiver. We have heard that turnaround time is fairly quick once municipal approval has been granted.
    • Finally, specific questions can be directed to EEC by emailing: EECExemptions@mass.gov

Registration now open for MHP’s Western MA Housing Virtual Workshop Series

Registration is now open for the Western Mass Housing Conference, sponsored by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP).

Geared towards officials, volunteers and employees in small and rural towns in Western Mass, the conference has been redesigned as a weekly virtual series that will engage participants in discussion and problem solving around the development of affordable housing in the region.

Registration is free but you must register in advance for EACH session you’d like to attend. Please go to https://www.mhp.net/community/events to register. Contact Katie Bosse at kbosse@mhp.net or 857-317-8517 for more information about this or any other MHP-sponsored events.

Zoning for Housing Diversity in Small Towns

When: Sept. 22, 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Playbook for Building Support for Community Engagement

When: Sept. 29, 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Pathways to Homeownership in Western Mass

When: Oct. 7, 2020, 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.

Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless

When: Oct. 15, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Bringing Affordable Senior Housing to Small and Rural Towns

When: Oct. 21, 2020, 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.

Distressed and Abandoned Properties

When: Nov. 5 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

CDBG Housing Rehab 101

When: Nov. 9, 2020 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.