In response to the unprecedented obstacles schools, teachers, students, and their families are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has offered an additional waiver to state education agencies, pursuant to section 4201(b)(1)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Under Title IV, Part B of the ESEA, section 4201(b)(1)(A) requiring that 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs operate only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session. If granted, this waiver would allow 21st CCLC program providers in Maine to temporarily operate with greater flexibilities to better meet the needs to students and families during the 2020-2021 school year.
This waiver would grant the Maine Department of Education (DOE) temporary authority to permit its 21st CCLC programs to provide supplemental services when school is in session, but students are not receiving in-person instruction. For example, it would be permitted that a teacher provides additional 21st CCLC-funded academic supports for a group of students during a remote learning day when those students are not otherwise engaged in facilitated instruction with their classroom teacher.
The Maine DOE continues to work diligently to support Maine’s schools and educational communities as the 2020-2021 school year begins. Given the hybrid instructional approaches many schools have adopted this year, students may benefit from dedicated staff and enhanced resources to help with remote lessons, independent work, and other enrichment opportunities during the portion of the week when remote lessons learning is occurring. It is for reasons such as these that the Maine DOE has chosen to pursue this waiver.
As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period. This 15-day public comment period shall begin on September 29, 2020 and conclude on October 14, 2020.
Comments may be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org