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Delegation backs MCAS waiver, helping vulnerable amid crisis

State Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge) supported legislation passed by the Senate and House that provides testing and budgetary flexibility to school districts and supports those experiencing homelessness in the Commonwealth. The bill was signed into law by the governor Friday, April 11.

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

sgarballey 19 4519Garballey

Dave RogersRogers

“The Legislature has taken additional steps forward to support students and protect vulnerable populations in our Commonwealth,” Friedman said in an April 14 news release.

“I’m particularly pleased that this bill waives MCAS requirements for the remainder of the academic year. Our students' routines have been disrupted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we simply cannot expect them to participate in these exams during this time of constant change.

"Thank you to the Senate President and my legislative colleagues for their hard work and collaboration on this legislation.”

Garballey added: “I am grateful that my colleagues joined me in moving to waive MCAS requirements for this year. Our number one priority needs to be the safety and well-being of our students and our staff. We should be focusing on developing creative ways to educate our students through remote learning and not having to prepare for a test.”

Rogers said: “Given the profound disruption to our schools and the educational process, canceling the MCAS this year makes good sense. Similarly, giving school districts additional time to develop the three-year plans required by the landmark Student Opportunity Act also is an important and sensible decision. Taken together, these steps and the other measures in this new law are another example of the Legislature acting to help our community at this unprecedented time, as well we should.”

This latest relief package known as An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities, School Districts and State authorities Resulting from Covid-19, includes the following components:

  • Student Requirements and District Operations. To address disruptions caused by the closure of K-12 schools due to Covid-19, the legislation waives the MCAS requirements for the 2019-2020 academic year and allows the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to modify or waive competency determination requirements related to high school graduation.
  • To comply with measures under the newly implemented Student Opportunity Act, the legislation requires the DESE Commissioner to extend the deadlines for school districts to submit their three-year plans to address educational disparities in student subgroups. This deadline has been extended to May 15, 2020, or later, as determined by the commissioner.

The legislation also provides budgetary flexibility for regional school as a result of Covid-19.

Helping Vulnerable Populations: In keeping with the Legislature’s commitment to protecting vulnerable populations, the legislation repurposes existing homelessness funds that currently support services that can’t be provided due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The legislation redirects funding to address immediate and critical homelessness needs resulting from the public health emergency.

MBTA Budget Flexibility: The legislation also provides the MBTA additional budgetary flexibility amid the Covid-19 emergency.

Friedman is providing regular updates on her website regarding the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts. All constituents are encouraged to visit to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information from her office about Covid-19.  

In addition, she will continue to provide updates on her various social-media platforms, including Facebook @CindyFriedmanMA, Twitter @CindyFriedmanMA, and Instagram @sencindyfriedman. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Senator Friedman’s office by phone at (617) 722-1432 or by email at Cindy.Friedman at  

Garballey is providing regular Covid-19 updates on his Facebook page. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact his office at 617-722-2090 or sean.garballey at

Constituents of Rogers can visit here to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information about Covid-19.  

This news announcement was published Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

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