COVID-19

Information about COVID-19 Letter from the U.S. Department of Education—March 12, 2020

In a document distributed on Thursday, March 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education addressed issues related to the provision of IEP services when schools are closing. Highlights are as follows:

If the school is closed:

  • If the school is not providing any “educational opportunities” to students in regular education, the school is not required to provide IEP services to students with disabilities.
  • If the school is providing some “educational opportunities” to students in regular education, the school MUST provide “equal access” to those educational opportunities as well as providing FAPE (free appropriate public education) to students with disabilities.
    • If the school determines that it cannot provide such special education services, the school should consider providing compensatory education services to ensure that all students with disabilities receive FAPE (free appropriate public education).

If the school is open:

  • If the student cannot attend school due to coronavirus infection, the determination is the same as with any extended student illness from school (missing more than ten (10) consecutive school days).
    • The school MUST hold an IEP meeting to change the child’s placement to homebound and change services, as needed.
    • If the student does not receive special education services for an extended period of time, the school should consider providing compensatory education services to ensure that all students with disabilities receive FAPE (free appropriate public education).
  • If the student cannot attend school due to a “high risk of severe medical complications,” the determination is the same as for actual student illness. If the student must stay away from school for an extended period of time (more than ten (10) consecutive school days):
    • The school MUST hold an IEP meeting to change the child’s placement to homebound and change services, as needed.
    • If the student does not receive special education services for an extended period of time, the school should consider providing compensatory education services to ensure that all students with disabilities receive FAPE (free appropriate public education).
    • PLEASE NOTE, however, that, pursuant to Section 504, the student may be excluded from school only if such exclusion is medically necessary. “The decision to dismiss a child based on his or her high risk for medical complications must be based on the individual needs of the child and not on perceptions of the child’s needs based merely on stereotypes or generalizations regarding his or her disability.”

You may access the entire document at: https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf