Education Law Center has released a new publication, COVID-19 and Students with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions, to respond to the urgent need for information about the rights of students while schools are closed and districts are required by the New Jersey Department of Education to continue student learning at home. This FAQ focuses on special education issues because educational disruptions caused by the pandemic have caused particular hardship for many students with disabilities and their families.
The FAQ contains essential information for parents, guardians, caregivers and advocates to understand the educational rights of students with disabilities during this time of virtual learning. Issues such as implementation of Individualized Education Programs (IEP), lack of access to technology, legality of waivers, and considerations regarding compensatory education are all addressed in this publication.
Some of the key takeaways for parents and guardians include: children’s core rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) have not been modified; IEPs remain in effect, although implemented to the extent possible by virtual means; and compensatory education services must be considered for students whose IEPs could not be appropriately implemented during school closure.
The FAQ also includes links to relevant federal and state guidance and attaches a sample log sheet that parents and guardians can use to track the educational services their children are receiving while at home.
This publication joins a series of ELC “Know Your Rights” guides published to provide comprehensive information and tools for advocates to use in efforts to safeguard and protect the education rights of public school students.
In addition to the new FAQ, ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series includes: Understanding Public School Residency Requirements: A Guide for Advocates, The Right to Special Education, Transition Planning: A Guide for Advocates, Student Discipline Rights and Procedures, Education Rights of Homeless Students, and Education Rights of Children in Foster Care.
The FAQ and other publications in ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series can be accessed on ELC’s website, or a printed copy may be obtained by contacting Diane Gayoso at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-624-1815, ext. 10.
Attorneys Linda Sweet Marks, ELC consultant, and Rebecca Spar, ELC Trustee, worked with ELC Senior Attorney Elizabeth Athos in preparing the FAQ. The IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey provides support for ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series, and special support for COVID-19 information has been provided by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.
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