Updating Your Policies:  Requirements From the 2022 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly for Connecticut Schools
Stacked Books Policy Rules Compliance

As reflected in our firm’s legislative update, Developments from the 2022 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly: New Laws Affective the Schools (and Public Employers): Pullman & Comley (pullcom.com), a number of public acts passed during this year’s session of the General Assembly have potential policy impacts for Connecticut schools.  The following is a summary of key legislation that should be reviewed by school leaders for policy implications.

Administration of NARCAN (from Public Act 22-80):  The Act amends the state’s school medication administration laws to allow school nurses (or during their absence/unavailability, qualified/trained school employees) to administer opioid antagonists (i.e., NARCAN) to provide emergency first aid to students experiencing opioid-related drug overdose and who do not have prior written authorization from a parent or prior written order of a qualified medical professional.  During regular school hours, there must be at least one such qualified/trained school employee on school grounds (at each school in the absence of a school nurse).  A parent/guardian may submit a request in writing to the school nurse and medical advisor that an opioid antagonist not be administered to their child. The Act also requires the Department of Consumer Protection (in collaboration with SDE) to provide information to school districts on where they can acquire opioid antagonists. The Act authorizes prescribers or pharmacists certified to prescribe an opioid antagonist to enter into an agreement with school districts on the distribution and administration of such antagonists.

IMPACT:  Administration of medication policies and administrative regulations should be amended as necessary to comply with this provision.  In the alternative, schools could enact a separate Narcan policy.  School administrators should work to ensure that at least one qualified and trained employee is available to administer opioid antagonists during regular school hours in the absence of a school nurse.

Remote Learning and Synchronous/Dual Instruction (from Public Act 22-80):  For the 2022-23 school year, school districts have the option of providing remote learning for grades 9 through 12.  Effective with the 2024-25 school year, this Act permits school districts to authorize remote learning for grades kindergarten through 12.  Remote learning must be in accordance with SDE standards.  The Act explicitly prohibits dual/synchronous instruction (i.e., the simultaneous instruction by a teacher to students in-person in the classroom and students engaged in remote learning).

IMPACT:  While not required, school districts that have a remote instruction policy may need to modify such policies to conform to this provision.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies (from Public Act 22-80):  Effective July 1, 2025, this Act requires public schools to include Asian American and Pacific Islander studies as part of their social studies curriculum.  Such studies shall include, but need not be limited to, a focus on 1) the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the state, the region and the United States, and 2) the contributions of a) Asian American and Pacific Islanders towards advancing civil rights from the 19th century to the present day, b) individual Asian American and Pacific Islanders in government, the arts, humanities and sciences, and c) Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to the economic, cultural, social and  political development of the United States.  School districts may: 1) utilize the curriculum materials developed by the State Board of Education, and 2) accept donations designated for the development and implementation of this curriculum.

IMPACT:  Graduation and course requirement policies will eventually need to be amended to conform to this provision. 

Truancy Policy and Procedures (from Public Act 22-47):  On or before September 1, 2023, boards of education shall be required to adopt and implement a new SDE-developed truancy intervention model that accounts for mental and behavioral health, or a similar plan that includes the same required components.  In addition, as of July 1, 2022, boards of education are now required to provide the parents of truant students with information concerning the existence and availability of the 2-1-1 Infoline program, and other pediatric mental and behavioral health screening services and tools.  Lastly, as of July 1, 2023, boards of education must ensure that an appropriate school mental specialist conduct an evaluation of each child who is a truant to determine if additional behavioral health interventions are necessary for the well-being of the child.  In connection with these requirements, by September 1, 2023, the SDE and DCF are required to issue guidance to local and regional boards of education on best practices relating to intervention in certain behavioral health situations and when it is appropriate to contact the 2-1-1 Infoline program or use alternative interventions.

IMPACT:  Truancy policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated as necessary to comply with the new requirements.  Prior to September 1, 2023, boards of education should be prepared to adopt and implement the to-be-developed new SDE truancy intervention model or a comparable model.

Withholding Recess for Disciplinary Purposes (from Public Act 22-81):    Among other things, this Act, which became effective in May following its passage, requires school boards to adopt policies governing the withholding of recess as a form of student discipline; such policies cannot include provisions that are unreasonably restrictive or punitive or that allow recess prevention/restriction due to student’s academic performance or failure to complete work.

IMPACTSchools may have to amend/adopt policies governing the withholding of recess as a form of student discipline so as to ensure that such policies do not include provisions that 1) are unreasonably restrictive or punitive, or 2) allow recess prevention/restriction due to student’s academic performance or failure to complete work.

Mental Health Plan for Student Athletes (from Public Act 22-81): The Act requires the SDE to develop by July 1, 2023 a model mental health plan for student athletes to raise awareness of mental health resources available to student athletes; school districts will then have to implement such plans for the 2023-24 school year.  

IMPACT:  Schools should be on the look-out for the model mental health plan from the SDE and be prepared to adopt in 2023.

Emotional Disability (from Public Act 22-47):  Effective immediately, the Act requires the SDE and boards of education to use the term “emotional disability” in lieu of the term “emotional disturbance” for purposes of the administration and provision of special education and related services.  The Act further specifies that the term “emotional disability” shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).

IMPACT:  Special education policies should be revised in order to use the new terminology.

Parent Access to Class Rank Information and Records (from Public Act 22-116):  Effective July 1, 2022, the Act also amended existing law by specifically entitling parents and guardians to access information and records concerning their child’s class rank from boards of education.  Existing law gives both custodial and non-custodial parents the statutory right to access educational, medical or similar records maintained in their child’s cumulative records.

IMPACT:   While not a policy mandate per se, districts may with to consider modifying existing policies to reflect this mandate. 

Student Access to Menstrual Products (from Public Act 22-118):   Effective September 1, 2023, this Act will require school districts to provide free menstrual products in a) women’s restrooms, b) all gender restrooms, and c) at least one men’s restroom for restrooms that are accessible to students in grades 3 to 12.  To carry out this new provision, districts may accept donations of products and grants from any source, and partner with nonprofit or community-based organizations.

IMPACTWhile not a policy mandate per se, school districts may wish to modify any donation/gift policies to reflect this new provision.   

Student Work Release Policy (from Public Act 22-118):  The Act requires the Office of Workforce Strategy to develop a model “student work release” policy by July 1, 2023, which then must be adopted by school districts commencing in the 2024-25 school year.

IMPACTDistricts will have to adopt a student work release policy based upon the model policy in the future.    

Mandated Reporters and Distribution of Mandated Reporter Policy and Sexual Abuse and Assault Awareness Resources; Sexual Abuse and Assault, Bystander and Interaction with Children Training (from Public Act 22-87):  The Act makes minor changes to the mandated reporter statute.  With respect to school districts, the Act now requires each local or regional board of education to distribute its mandated reporter policy electronically to all school employees on an annual basis.

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, the Act also requires electronic distribution of guidelines developed by the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children regarding the identification and reporting of child sexual abuse to (1) all school employees, (2) members of the board of education, and (3) parents and guardians.

Thereafter, starting in the 2023-24 school year, it also requires the electronic distribution of information regarding a to-be developed sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program.  Such program shall be developed by July 1, 2023 by DCF in collaboration the SDE, the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (or a similar entity) and most be implemented by boards of education.  Information regarding the program must be electronically distributed to (1) all school employees, (2) members of the board of education, and (3) parents and guardians.

In addition to the above, on or after July 1, 2023, the Act mandates that each school employee complete (1) training regarding the prevention and identification of, and response to, child sexual abuse and assault, (2) a bystander training program, and (3) an appropriate interaction with children training program.  This training must be repeated every three years, at a minimum.

IMPACT: School districts should amend their mandated reporter policies to reflect new requirements regarding the electronic distribution of such policies to all school employees, board members and parent/guardians.  Before the start of the 2023-43 school year, districts should also amend their mandated reporter policies to reflect new electronic distribution requirements regarding mandated sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program information to school employees, board members and parents/guardians of students enrolled in the district of the sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program that must be adopted by the district. 

Timely Notice of Health Surveys (from Public Act 22-87): No later than January 1, 2023, the SDE, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, is required to develop a uniform policy for use by local or regional boards of education concerning timely notification to the parents or guardians of students in grades 9 to 12 about the Connecticut Health Survey not later than 21 days prior to the administration of the survey, and to develop a form for that notification which includes an explanation of the survey, how a parent/guardian may opt out of the survey being administered to his/her child, and an internet link to the survey that will be administered.

IMPACT: Schools should be on the lookout for the to-be developed SDE-model policy concerning timely notification to parents/guardians of students in grades 9 through 12 on the Connecticut Health Survey.  In addition to the 21-day notice requirement, the policy must include an explanation of the survey and how parents/guardians may opt their children out of it.  Public Act 22-87 requires the SDE to develop such a model policy by January 1, 2023.

Victims of Domestic Violence (from Public Act 22-82): This Act, which takes effect on October 1. 2022, adds status as a domestic violence victim as a protected class under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”) and prohibits discrimination against such persons.  The Act amends CFEPA to prohibit employers from refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation (including a reasonable leave of absence) to an employee for the purpose of seeking attention to injuries caused by (or services relating to) domestic violence, unless the absence would cause an undue hardship to the employer.  Employers can request certain specified supporting documentation from employees with respect to a request for such a leave of absence; however, employers must maintain the confidentiality of information (to the extent permitted by law) regarding one’s status as a domestic violence victim.

IMPACTEmployers (whether schools or other entities) should amend non-discrimination policies to accommodate victims of domestic violence.  Resources available to the victims of domestic violence must also be posted.

Remote Meetings Under The Freedom Of Information Act (from Public Act 22-3):  This Act, which took effect upon its April 28, 2022 passage, makes permanent changes to Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) so as to preserve the ability of public agencies (such as school boards) to conduct “remote” and “hybrid” meetings.  The Act largely mirrors the temporary provisions which were set to expire on April 30, 2022.

IMPACTThe law preserves local discretion on whether to conduct meetings in-person or remotely.  However, the law may provide board members with a right to attend meetings remotely (even for meetings held in-person).  In light of the new law, boards may wish to review and update (and eliminate obsolete language from) bylaws governing board meetings.


Please contact an attorney from Pullman & Comley’s school law practice if your school should need any assistance with its policies.

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