Department of Education Issues New COVID-19 Guidance for Students With Disabilities
Young white boy attentively looking at an open laptop screen
What Happened: The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released new guidelines on how states and schools can address disputes about special education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OSEP released the details in two Q&A documents in response to requests to implement the dispute settlement procedures of the Disability Education Act (IDEA).
Because of COVID-19, children may not be able to receive programs since they were before the pandemic. OSEP encourages parents, service providers and administrators to work together creatively to continue to meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families.
Timely communication between parents and agency staff can often help resolve disagreements that may arise regarding educational opportunities for a child with a disability during the pandemic.
#OSERS Office of Special Education Programs released two Q-and-A documents dealing with IDEA disputes resolved during the COVID-19 environment.
• Part B:
• Part C:
7:27 p.m. - June 23, 2020
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The front line: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many new challenges to ensure that students with disabilities are not excluded from education when schools switch to online learning.
Many students with disabilities rely on educational services and therapies - such as language, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy - that cannot be easily translated into an online learning format
The most common platforms for online learning, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, are not always accessible to students who rely on communication devices or other accommodations
While Education Minister Betsy DeVos refused to waive protection under the Disability Education Act (IDEA), the COVID-19 law, the CARES law, allowed the law to give students with disabilities equal educational opportunities should offer
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A powerful voice: Our colleague, Krysten Clark Wilkes, shared her concerns about her son with developmental disabilities who received support for distance learning. “My son lacks important services such as individual physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy that are offered at school. Since there is no end date in sight, I also share the feelings of many parents, especially those who have to navigate this new territory for their children with disabilities. "
Related topics: Twitter apologizes for launching the voice feature that disabled users could not access
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Related: Study suggests that children with developmental disorders are more likely to develop asthma
Other important information: Read how these parents deal with special needs education during the pandemic:
What educational equity for students with disabilities looks like during COVID-19
Pandemic life with Hannah Banana, my daughter with Down syndrome
8 Tips to Navigate an IEP Meeting While Coronavirus Shuts Down
Additional information: The documents also point out that if the cooperation between the parties is unsuccessful, IDEA will offer the next step in three dispute settlement mechanisms: mediation, state complaint and complaint procedure. The details are presented in two Q-and-A documents: the first describes the services for children in Part B; The second part describes the services for infants and toddlers in part C, which you can see here:
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