March 21 – A new fact sheet provided by the United States Department of Education was issued with guidance to schools advising “ensuring compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act should not prevent any school from offering educational programs through distance instruction.”
To help schools provide distance learning in compliance with federal law, this fact sheet explains:
  • The Department recognizes that exceptional circumstances may affect how special education and related services and supports are provided to students with disabilities, and the Department will offer flexibility.
  • School districts must provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities, and the provision of FAPE may include, as appropriate, special education and related services that can be provided via computer, internet, or phone.
  • Although online learning must be accessible to students with disabilities, federal law does not mandate the specific methodologies by which distance education must be provided.
  • In instances where technology is not accessible or where educational materials are not available in an accessible format, educators may still meet their legal obligations by providing equally effective alternate access to the curriculum or services provided to other students.

March 17, 2020 – Gov suspends standardized testing and relaxing some of the time lines related to special education and uniform complaints https://f3law.com/downloads/20-03%20Timelines%20Relaxed%20for%20Spec%20Ed%20and%20Uniform%20Complaints.pdf

The California Department of Education will issue updates to this guidance and others every Friday, in addition to issuing new and updated guidance as the need arises.

March 14, 2020 – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PROVIDING SERVICES TO CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 OUTBREAK – March 2020, US Department of Education – https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3XuxiYs5H_VPaYh4KpUf43SaBn2ryQbttWBrdjEp-cZRoKiP4XtPcV6hI

The most frequent question we are receiving is about compensatory education for those special ed students who are missing school.  Per the US Department of Education, if all students are not in school then there will not be compensatory education.  See the link above.