FAQ

Click on the links below for the questions specific to:


School Year 20-21 Calendar

School begins for grades 1-12 on August 31, 2020

School begins for PK and Kindergarten on September 2, 2020

See Individual School Calendars

Utilizing state guidance, Lawrence Public Schools is actively working to create plans for the re-opening schools this fall. This includes preparing three plans to submit to the state Department of Education. One is for a preferred opportunity to bring back as many students to classrooms as possible. The second is for a hybrid plan, which would include a blend of in-person opportunities and remote learning. The third would provide for continued remote learning only, ensuring the district can easily make a switch should health and safety conditions deem necessary. 

In an effort to consider all stakeholder preferences, ideas, concerns, and needs, LPS will actively engage families, students, educators and staff this summer in conversations as part of the planning process. 

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Student Learning

Q. How can I access my child's report card? 

In order to access  your child report card information, you will need the following:

If you have any questions regarding access to the Power School Parent Portal or your child’s records, please contact the principal of your child’s school.

Q. How can my child stay engaged over the summer? 

A. Lawrence Public Schools offers remote summer programming for students in a few ways:

  • For students whose IEPs include Extended Year programing
  • For students identified as English Learners
  • Through Level-Up for students identified as needing additional support by their schools

Beyond these options are a myriad of live and remote summer camps and activities. More information may be found in the section labeled, Summer Activities

Q. What resources are available for parents and students to enrich learning during this period of closure?

A. LPS has created a new site to help families and students continue to learn from home: LPS Learning at Home

  • For virtual learning that your child is already using at school, please use our Single Sign-on Portal for All Students to Access Learning Apps and Sites.
    • Visit Clever here! (Instructions to Access Clever in English or Spanish)
    • Need help? Check out these online tutorials for logging-in (English) or (Spanish)
    • Please contact your school for additional or support; or send any questions or issues with log-in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Looking to create a learning routine at home? Sample Schedule for Students 
  • Additional LPS Resources by Grade 
  • Another outstanding resource to support learning at home comes from New York City’s Department of Education, which has created a helpful list of resources, by grade level and content:  NYC LEARN AT HOME RESOURCES AND LESSONS PK-GR 12
  • pbskids.org/learn is also another great resource.
  • Storyline Online has a host of interesting and well-known folks reading books out loud for children.
  • The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a comprehensive list of resources as well
  • Looking for something more active? These online dance classes might help, or see the section below on Covid-19 Guidance, Resources and Support for more exercise tips.
  • The Lawrence Public Library (LPL) subscribes to Tutor.com.  This site offers 24/7 live tutoring for all subjects. The direct link to this resource is http://www.lawrencefreelibrary.org/702/Tutorcom.  A library card is needed to access Tutor.com.   However, students and parents can get a library card  by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by messaging the Lawrence Public Library via its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LawrenceFreeLibrary/.  Other online resources for students and families can be accessed at http://www.lawrencefreelibrary.org/274/Online-Resources.
     

Q. What additional resources are available to support families with students who have Individual Education Plans?

A. Please visit the Special Education section of this FAQ for lots of helpful resources, recommendations and guidance.

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Special Education

Q.  During the period of time our district is closed related to COVID-19, must the district provide special education services to students with disabilities?

A. Updated Guidance provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is reflected in the April 9, 2020 DESE Resource “Toolbox” for Families of Special Education Students, in a new LPS letter to families (Spanish) and the LPS Special Education Remote Learning Plan for Educators and Families during School Closure due to the Novel Coronavirus (Spanish). This information will also be mailed to all families of students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

In addition, Lawrence Public Schools is committed to providing resources families may access at home during the closure period. Please see Student Learning above for more information.

Q. My child is on an IEP or 504 Plan, and I am concerned about the implications of the closure on my child’s educational progress.

A. Upon the conclusion of the closure, and the re-opening of the district, IEP teams will be available to convene to determine what type of impact the closure had on your child’s educational progress, and make individualized team based decisions as needed.  

Q. My child’s IEP Team Meeting is scheduled during the closure.  What can I expect?

A. Evaluation Team Facilitators will be reaching out to families who have IEP meetings scheduled during the closure period. With parent/guardian permission, facilitators will schedule a “virtual” meeting by sending a link that may be accessed on a smartphone or computer with audio and microphone.  Parents/Guardians may also dial in for audio only. 

Q. My child is on an IEP, and attends an out of district placement.  What are the implications of Lawrence Public School’s closure on my child attending the out of district placement?

A. Lawrence Public School’s closure should not have any impact on your child attending the out of district placement.  As information is changing daily, please communicate directly with the outplacement school for any updates on their closures.  As of this correspondence, our transportation vendor has confirmed they will continue to transport our students to outplacements that remain open. Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak

Q. My child is on an IEP and receives “services only” (i.e. speech/physical therapy/occupational therapy).  Will my child receive these services during the closure?

A. Services will not be provided during the closure, consistent with how this is handled on snow days.

Q. Will my child’s special education liaison, related service provider, and elementary/secondary coordinators be available if I have a question during this closure?

A. Yes, Special Education Directors are available to assist families with specific questions as needed.  A link to a directory of Special Education Director email and phone numbers is provided on this special education directory list.  Special Education Directors will provide access to Evaluation Team Facilitators, Teachers, and Related Service Providers as needed.  

Q. I made a request of the district to provide a Special Education Evaluation on or after March 13th.  What should I expect?

A. Any timelines associated with evaluation requests received on March 13th or during the closure, will be processed using day one of the timeline as the date the district re-opens.  For example, if the district re-opens on April 7th, that would count as day one associated with timelines for an evaluation request.

Q. I am looking for general tips on how to support my child during this closure.

A. Please see the section above on Student Learning.  In addition, we are sharing resources that New York City published for Specialized Instruction and Student Supports.  Please visit the resources diverse learning for special populations

Q. Are there any resources or social stories for children and adolescents?

A. The Autism Educator shared this corona virus social story available for download.

Guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists along with the National Association of School Nurses:
talking to children about corona virus

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COVID-19 Guidance, Resources and Support

Q. Should everyone, including children, be practicing social distancing?

A. Yes. Individuals of all ages, including students, should be practicing social distancing. Everyone can play a role in keeping our community safe. Carefully consider the necessity of being together.  This is not a vacation; it is an extreme measure taken to allow for physical distancing so the virus is not spread.  Not being exposed to the virus is the best way not to get sick or to transmit it to others.  Please refer to this CDC webpage for other recommendations to prevent illness:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

Q. What resources are available for parents coping with stress during this time? 

A. The CDC has provided the following resources for parents coping with stress. 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-

Here are additional hotlines: 

  • The Parental Stress Line - “parents helping parents” – available 24/7 in all languages: 1-800-632-8188
  • SafeLink - Massachusetts statewide domestic violence support and resources: 
  • 24/7 helpline: 877-785-2020
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255 with chat available here.  
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

A. The Community Based Services programs of Children's Friend and Family Services - are here and ready to respond to the mental health and substance use needs of our communities during this stressful time. We understand that during this time, individuals and families will continue to experience behavioral health and social service needs and may face increased distress and symptoms. 

Community-Based Services JRI continues to offer across the state are: 

  • In-Home Therapy (intensive family intervention) 
  • Outpatient therapy (individual, group, family, or couples interventions) 
  • Mentoring (individualized therapeutic interventions and life skill development/coaching) 
  • In-Home Behavioral Services & Behavior Monitoring 
  • Family Support and Training from a Family Partner 
  • Intensive Care Coordination & Wraparound Care Planning 
  • Foster Care Support & Outreach (individualized to DCF homes- DCF Referral) 
  • Long Term Supportive Services- Case Management

If you or someone you know is in need, please visit the JRI website or contact our Community-Based Services Navigator: Amy Sypher at 508-380-0273 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Q. Is there any assistance available for families in need to purchase groceries?

A. As we learn about opportunities, we will post them below:

  • Current SNAP recipients may be eligible to receive a $50 voucher to support additional food purchases, via a campaign set up by Expensify.org. Information on their program may be found at: https://www.expensify.org/hunger
  • Please also see Community Resources for information on Food Pantries. 
     

Q: Where can I turn for help on if I quality for unemployment or how to file? 

A The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) will be hosting daily, virtual town hall meetings where they will take people through a step by step process of achieving a successful unemployment claim and taking questions from claimants across the Commonwealth.  There will also be a virtual meeting in Spanish. Learn more at: https://www.mass.gov/forms/massachusetts-department-of-unemployment-assistance-dua-virtual-town-halls

Q. If I’ve lost my job, what can I do about affordable health insurance?

A. Massachusetts residents losing their jobs and job-based health coverage can make their way into health coverage through the state’s Health Connector. Massachusetts residents can visit www.mahealthconnector.org to apply for coverage. The ConnectorCare program connects qualifying Massachusetts residents with affordable health coverage with low or $0 premiums and low co-pays and no deductibles.  This special enrollment period runs through May 25, 2020

Q: What resources are available for students and teachers to learn about the risks of Covid-19 in our Community?

A. The Lawrence High School Psychology team has provided the following resources for students and teachers to learn about the risk of Covid-19 in our community.  

Q. What resources are available for families coping with the loss of a loved one during this time?

A. Losing a loved one to COVID-19 is devastating enough, but the pandemic brings an extra layer of challenges for families and organizations coping with loss.

That’s why the Red Cross of Massachusetts is standing up our Virtual Family Assistance Center, a support hub with special virtual programs, information, referrals, and support services. The hub will also connect people to other community resources provided by the Red Cross of Massachusetts and other partners.

Many families have experienced a disrupted bereavement and grief process due to restrictions related to COVID-19. To help, the Red Cross has set up a virtual team of specially trained mental health, spiritual care, and health services volunteers who are:

  • Connecting with families over the phone to offer condolences, support, and access to resources that may be available
  • Providing support for virtual memorial services for families, including connecting with local faith-based community partners
  • Hosting online classes to foster resilience and facilitate coping skills
  • Sharing information and referrals to state and local agencies as well as other community organizations including legal resources for estate, custody, immigration or other issues 

 
All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is completely confidential and free of charge.
 
VFAC MA Flyer (Spanish)

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Community Resources 

Q. How do I learn about Covid-19 Screening in our community? 

A Lawrence General Hospital has established a Community Screening Line. You can obtain an assessment of your COVID-19 risk, possible need for testing, and recommendations for next steps. 978-946-8409

Q. Where should I go for updates from the City of Lawrence?

A. The city’s website is consistently updated with the latest information here.

Q. Are there additional sources for meals or groceries in the City of Lawrence?

A. For additional information on grocery store hours, food pantries and more, please visit https://www.wearelawrence.org/coronavirus-food

Check out this list of Lawrence resources for Grab n’ Go meals, food pantries, groceries, and SNAP benefits.

The FoodSource Hotline number is 1-800-645-8333 and is available in 160 different languages. 

  • We are open 8am-7pm, Mon-Fri and 10am-2pm on Saturdays throughout the crisis. 
  • We can also serve the hearing-impaired community through the Hotline TTY line, 1-800-377-1292.

For more information and hours, visit www.projectbread.org/gethelp

Q. What resources exist for homeless students and families during this period? 

A. Guidance from DESE’s Homeless Education Coordinator includes:   

  • While local offices are currently closed to the public, shelter applications can be done by phone by calling: 1-866-584-0653
  • Families must follow shelter quarantine/isolation rules should those go into effect.
  • Families should not be worrying about housing searches at this time.  They may still apply for housing online and work with their case managers by phone. 
  • DHCD will be encouraging housing authorities to temporarily not take action against tenants who have a family doubling up. Housing courts are temporarily suspending eviction proceedings.
     

Q: Is there a community resource that is keeping information current about supports in our community?

A: We Are Lawrence has a resource and education section for coronavirus. Resources on food pantries, soup kitchens, and more will be updated on this site:  https://www.wearelawrence.org/coronavirus

Q. How do I learn about my Housing Rights during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak?

A. Northeast Legal Aid Flyer (Spanish)

Q. How do I learn about Payments for Social Security and SSI Recipients during Covid-19?

The Social Security has prepared and the IRS has provided this guide, the Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and SSI Recipients – Steps to Take and Schedule of Payments to help families with any questions or concerns they may have.

For more information please visit : Social Security

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Internet Access

Q. I don’t have internet, Can I get no-cost or low-cost internet access during the COVID-19 outbreak?

A. Comcast is offering free internet with its Xfinity hotspots for 60 days to all new families. The Internet Essentials program is normally available to all qualified, low-income households in Comcast’s service area for $9.95/month. If you do not want to continue after the free 60 days, you will need to contact the provider to cancel. Please visit www.comcast.com for more information.

Q. Are there any deal for increasing the data available to me?

A. Yes, most of the major wireless phone service providers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, Spectrum, MetroPCS and others, are offering nationwide mobile hotspot included with selected plans. You should check with your carrier to see if your plan qualifies for this data service.

Q. What is a mobile hotspot?

A. A mobile hotspot is an ad hoc wireless access point created by a dedicated hardware device or a smartphone feature that shares the phone's cellular data with other devices such as Chromebooks, Laptops, PCs, etc. Mobile hotspots are also known as portable hotspots.

Q. How do I use a mobile hotspot to get internet on my Chromebook?

A. Once you have a mobile hotspot with your service, sharing your smart phone’s internet with your Chromebook is a simple process.

Please follow the step by step instructions below:

  1. On your smartphone, go to setting and turn on Bluetooth
  2. On your Chromebook, at the bottom right select your Wi-Fi network
  3. Under "Mobile data," select your phone
  4. When you see "Connected" under your phone’s name, your phone is sharing its data connection with your Chromebook and you are ready to go.

* To avoid your phone’s battery dies, you can plug it in via a USB cable and it will draw power from your Chromebook.

Q. I am not able to pay my phone or internet bill, will my service be shut off during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A.No, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been working with internet and phone providers to ensure that all of our families have access during the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, you must take proactive steps with your provider. Learn more about what you need to do here:

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Revised Retention Policies for 2019-2020

Superintendent’s Statement on Promotion and Retention for School Year 2019-20

Recognizing the traumatic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our families and students, Lawrence Public Schools has temporarily suspended its promotion and retention policies for SY2019-20. All students will be promoted to the next grade for SY20-21, ensuring they are not penalized for the lost learning and other effects – social, emotional, physical and economic – caused by this pandemic. This decision is based on feedback from multiple sessions with LPS parents, students, educators and school leaders, as well as research regarding the harmful impact of retention on students.
 
There remain questions and challenges around ensuring student readiness for the next grade, and I am confident that we will continue to develop new and necessary steps to properly support our rising students. We have begun by expanding summer programming and interventions, providing many more students with access to important summer supports and added learning time leading into the fall. I welcome the continued partnership of all our families and educators as continue to prioritize these efforts heading into the new school year and beyond.

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