Client Alert – Department Of Education Guidance For Students With Disabilities During COVID-19 Emergency

March 23, 2020 in Client Alerts, COVID-19 Alerts

On March 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance to schools about addressing the risk of COVID-19 in schools while protecting the rights of students with disabilities.  As a general rule, if school districts are serving students remotely, they must ensure that students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 Plans continue to receive a free appropriate public education.   Useful information for students with disabilities can be found in the links to an Office for Civil Rights Fact Sheet issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights and a Questions and Answers document on providing services to children with disabilities during the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

On March 17, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) issued guidance concerning COVID-19 related school closures.  The guidance provides that school districts must offer special education service to the most appropriate extent possible while students are away from their schools/programs.  When school resumes, IEP teams may need to consider compensatory services when students return to school and IEPs may need to be adjusted accordingly.  Useful information for students with disabilities and their parents can be found in the link to the Frequently Answered Questions guidance document issued by the NJDOE.

For more information about Walsh’s Special Education practice or to seek information on how to implement best practices relating to Special Education, please contact Thomas J. O’Leary at 973-757-1045 or toleary@walsh.law.