If your kids are at home and you’re scrambling to find a way to keep some type of learning going, you are also probably wondering what happens to the carefully worked out IEP your child has?
Clearly we are in uncharted waters. As the health crisis deepens and normal life takes a sharp turn, it is impossible to know exactly what life will look like when we are finally able to shake hands again. This means that there are many questions we cannot answer in detail, but we do have some general information to start from.
If you have a child still in school who has been sent home, the general rule is that if services are being offered by the school district to children in the regular program, then services must also be offered to children in special education. For almost all children, the IEP cannot and will not be followed exactly, but where it can be followed, it should be. The main thing to know is that special education programs cannot simply be abandoned during this period unless the entire school program is temporarily suspended.
The second important thing to know is that the legal mandate for compensatory services will, in most cases, likely mean that schools will have to provide extra services for children in special education in order to make up for missed learning and services during the shut down. The schools will, of course, be overwhelmed with the need for additional services when they re-open, so there’s no way to know exactly what this will end up looking like, but the law as it currently stands does require schools to provide additional special education services when needed services have not been provided.
All of our students are missing learning opportunities at this time, but the law says that our students in special education should NOT take the brunt of the loss if there are limited resources.
As outlined in this factsheet, there is very little room for schools to make exceptions to the special education rules.
Stay safe out there.
Parker Counsel Legal Services serves families in Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. Call us at 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668) or firstname.lastname@example.org