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.
Does the school district have to provide specialized services while school buildings are closed?
Yes, if the school is “Open” under distance learning. Under distance learning, schools are considered “in session” but “in session” days are not considered school days. 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.
Will scheduled PPTs be held virtually while the school building is closed?
It depends on the state and the school district! In Connecticut, the Connecticut Bureau of Special Education issued revised guidance on March 24, 2020, that suggests enormous latitude to the school districts in determining whether PPT meetings need to be held. In Massachusetts, school districts are not giving such latitude. See our comments under Attorney updates.
School districts are not required to revise IEPs or conduct PPT meetings “related to the instructional delivery method”;
The delivery of services through alternate modes does not constitute a change in placement;
School districts that are not able to meet the annual review and/or reevaluation timelines due to the school closure are to hold such PPT meeting once school resumes and maintain a student’s current IEP until a new IEP can be developed;
If a student’s IEP effective date lapses during the COVID -19 school closure, the student’s IEP will remain in effect until a new IEP is developed;
Timeline for initial evaluations is paused during the period of school closure because days when schools are closed, are not “school days.”
Can I request a PPT to discuss my child’s access to education and services during school closings?
Yes, HOWEVER (pursuant to March 24, 2020 BSE guidance) in Connecticut school districts are not required to revise an IEP because all students are receiving an alternate mode of instructional delivery. This would obviate the need to conduct PPT meeting related to the instructional delivery method in those cases and would not constitute a change in placement. BUT there may be unique instances when a school district and a parent agree that a PPT meeting is necessary. If you have any concerns, do request a PPT via email with the school district.