HCN News & Notes

State Announces COVID-19 Funding for Special-education Programs

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration recently announced $16.1 million in relief for 32 special-education residential school providers to support costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, special-education residential schools remained open to support their students with unique challenges. Schools incurred unanticipated costs related to the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), infection-control measures, increased staffing costs, and enhanced cleaning protocols.

This latest funding is in addition to $3 million in funding the Department of Early Education and Care provided in April to support the residential-education school system. Together, this $19.1 million acknowledges the efforts of these schools to remain open on a 24/7 basis throughout the pandemic and the measures they implemented to keep their doors open and their youth and staff safe.

Earlier in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services implemented $139 million in increased funding through its existing system for residential and congregate-care service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were used for increased staffing, enhanced infection-control procedures, and PPE.

Due to the structure of special-education residential schools, they were not eligible for this earlier rate increase, but this latest announcement will bring them in line with the previous rate increases provided to other residential and congregate-care providers.