The following email was sent on Aug. 26 to school counselors.
With the beginning of the school year fast approaching, school counselors have many unanswered questions. The DOE and the UFT together released guidance on how related services counseling will be delivered if schools do open with a blended learning model.
Here are key takeaways from the guidance:
- Under a blended learning model, schools will try to offer in-person counseling to students whose IEP calls for it. Social distancing guidelines will limit the spaces that are appropriate for in-person counseling; some students will still receive online counseling, and some may attend counseling both online and in person.
- In September, families will be asked to fill out a survey expressing their preference for either in-person or remote services. The survey will inform families that in-person services are not guaranteed. If a family selects in-person and it is impossible to provide in-person counseling, the family will be offered remote counseling. If additional capacity becomes available later in the school year, the family will be offered in-person counseling.
- When scheduling in-person counseling, schools will consider which students are less able to fully benefit from remote counseling. Some counselors will continue to work remotely in the fall even if schools do reopen under a blended learning model due to pre-existing conditions placing them at a high risk for severe complications of COVID-19. These counselors will have the same caseload as providers serving students in person and will provide counseling to students based on IEP requirements for duration and group size.
- Counselors will document their work and communication with families in SESIS. More specific guidance on documentation requirements is forthcoming.
You can read the full guidance on the DOE website. (You must be logged into the DOE website to see this page.)
Thank you for all you continue to do to provide students the services they need under these difficult circumstances. Your union continues to fight for you to remain safe and healthy while you do your jobs. We’re in this together.