The Department of Education in many states has released documents to help school districts provide special education to students with disabilities during Covid. In addition to the State Education Code of Conduct, of the US Department of Education also provides guidance for state schools and parents to address the special educational needs of students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Sources: 14, 15, 20
With regard to students with disabilities, distance learning must include all other services required by the IEP, including the description of emergencies services. If a parent requests that his child be evaluated for special education, the district has 15 days to draw up an evaluation plan. The child must be re-evaluated after ome year of school year to decide whether he or she is still entitled to special education. sources: 1, 6, 12
Since the federal government provides only half of the funds required for the full implementation of special education in schools, the cost of these services is borne by the state and school.
Parents of children with disabilities should continue to advocate for quality services even during a pandemic. The stakes for the students attending special education are high, because they depend on therapies that can take them to college, the labor market or to a self-determined life. The challenges posed by the district’s efforts to provide specialized educational services through a virtual platform, and pointed to the difficulty of connecting students to Wi-Fi still require school districts to provide meaningful access and meaningful progress to the curriculum.
Schools are required to provide free and appropriate public education (FAPE) – related services – to all students in the district’s schools receiving specialized education.The rules are very detailed and available online as issued by the Office of Special Education Regulation (OER) of the US Department of Education. The contact page of the Special Education Department has been updated to include the names of supervisors and program specialists who support schools. Sources: 3, 14
Importantly, CDE guidelines state that school districts must continue to conduct special educational evaluations to provide distance learning, but that all special educational evaluations, including personal evaluations, can be conducted at any time. Additional information was published to underline the importance of providing all specific educational requirements consistent with the protection of the rights of all pupils to education, specialised education and related services. Sources: 1, 15
School districts mist ensure that IEP teams and instructors have access to assessment and teaching support to meet the needs of individual students who need assistive technology and to offset and assess the impact of progress during COVID.
Parents’ specific concerns can vary widely, from waiting for an initial assessment to determine whether a child is eligible for special education to implementing an existing IEP. Special educational needs during a pandemic are different, and some children may have additional needs to consider. Sources: 17, 18
If your child has problems, you can request an IEP from a principal or school counselor.
A spokesman for the California Department of Education said special education students have individual education plans (IEPs), which are statutory contracts between schools and parents that set goals for a child and provide special educational services. It is the responsibility of the IEP team, including the school district and parents, to determine what education is appropriate for them, especially for children with special needs. Covid 19 is not an excuse for delays, lack of services or meaningful progress.