A law passed by the Legislature late on April 9 and signed by the governor the next day suspends MCAS testing requirements for the school year, pushes back due dates for school district improvement plans required by the Student Opportunity Act, and allows the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to modify or waive graduation requirements for students set to complete high school this summer.

The law also suspends the rules governing approval of regional school district budgets and allows districts to adopt temporary budgets to start fiscal 2021 if the annual regional school budget has not been adopted by the communities in the district by June 30. The state commissioner of education would approve monthly budgets until a final budget can be approved locally.

The regional school budget provisions are similar to rules enacted earlier this month that allow towns to start a fiscal year without a budget approved by town meeting in the event of a state-declared emergency. The interim municipal spending plan would be approved by the Division of Local Services.

The law also delays the budget deadlines for the MBTA by a month.

Download section-by-section summary of the bill

School districts have been closed by executive order since March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order requires all K-12 schools to remain closed through at least May 4, with extensions possible if public health risks continue.

The federal government allowed states to cancel testing requirements if they filed waivers, which Massachusetts did, along with the vast majority of other states.