The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably changed the delivery of your child's special education, services, and accommodations in ways none of us imagined prior to March 1, 2020. The delivery of services, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), U.S. Office of Specialized Instruction (OSEP), Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Connecticut Bureau of Specialized Instruction (BSE) and executed by your local school district is changing on an almost every day basis.
Parents need to be informed: to have strategies and to know what questions to ask their school districts during this distance learning period. Parents need tools to be prepared when schools are again able to welcome students back into the classroom.
Connecticut Parents: Please visit the SEEK_CT website at https://seekct.com for COVID-19 updates related to Connecticut Special Education accommodations, services, and procedural rights.
For my special education identified child, what services and academic support should my child be receiving?
Your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Every goal and objective in the IEP is to be supported by specialized instruction. In Connecticut, on Page 11 of the IEP is a grid that lists the academic and specialized services your child is entitled to receive any time the school district is in session. That includes times of Covid-19 distance learning. Make a note of the Specialized service, frequency, responsible staff, and description of service delivery.
The Connecticut Bureau of Special Education issued revised guidance on August 12, 2020, mandating the use of a Learning Model IEP Implementation Plan form for districts to document the delivery of special education and related services that may be affected by the school district’s response to the pandemic. The Learning Model IEP Implementation Plan must be used to describe any differences in the delivery of IEP services and will serve as the required notice to parents.
Does the school district have to provide specialized services while school buildings are closed?
Yes. Your child is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). That means the school district must provide education, specialized instruction, and related services although school districts may not be able to provide all services in the same manner that they are typically provided when in the school building. Any change in the delivery of services is to be documented and notice given to parents via the Learning Model IEP Implementation Plan. The level of services should match the IEP. If a district states that is not possible, be sure and document that you do not waive any rights for your child to receive FAPE as documented on the IEP.
Will scheduled PPTs be held virtually while my child attends school either remotely or through a hybrid model?
Yes, despite the enormous challenges that the pandemic has brought, your child remains entitled to the same timelines for services and evaluations as identified under state and federal regulations.
Can I request a PPT to discuss my child’s access to education and services while my school district is on a hybrid or remote model of learning?
Yes! If your child is struggling to make educational progress during the pandemic due to the mode of delivery of services, request a PPT during which the team should be made aware of the barriers to access. With this information, the team may need to add accommodations or services to the IEP.
KATHRYN SCHEINBERG MEYER, ESQ.
Kathryn provides Keller Law in-depth understanding of the health-harming legal needs of children. She also provides guidance in systemic efforts to assert and protect the legal rights of all of Connecticut’s children. Kathryn is well-recognized by colleagues,, legislators,, agency officials, and parents as a leading attorney advocate for children with disabilities. Throughout her career, Kathryn has focused on the legal rights of Connecticut's most vulnerable children- including low-income children, immigrant children, children in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, and children with mental health challenges.
Kathryn currently serves as the Director of the Yale Child Study Center Medical-Legal Partnership Project (MLP), through the Center for Children's Advocacy. Through the MLP, Kathryn collaborates with Yale social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists to support clients with health-harming legal needs, primarily those around education, benefits, immigration, housing, or other barriers.
Kathryn sits on several statewide task forces, including the legislatively-appointed Special Education Funding & Services Task Force, the Social-Emotional Learning Collaborative of the Commission on Women & Children, and the Juvenile Justice Policy & Oversight Committee- Suspension & Expulsion Subcommittee
Kathryn has extensive legislative experience from identifying systemic legal issues, to drafting and pitching effective bill proposals, and then to coordinating testifiers and drafting testimony on dozens of bills. She has co-counseled multiple systemic efforts including systemic statewide complaints and Office of Civil Rights complaints concerning the education of vulnerable groups of children. . Kathryn is a highly sought after speaker at state and national level trainings and seminars.
Kathryn is a 2009 graduate of Columbia Law School, She holds a clinical faculty position at Yale University School of Medicine. She has been named one of the Connecticut Law Tribune’s “New Leaders in the Law,” as well as one of the Fairfield County Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.”
Kathryn provides Keller Law in-depth understanding of the health-harming legal needs of children. She also provides guidance in systemic efforts to assert and protect the legal rights of all of Connecticut’s children.