COVID-19 School Closure IEP Information

Information for Families of Students with IEPs

The United States Department of Education has issued guidance on implementing IEPs during this unprecedented time. The Department writes, “In this unique and ever-changing environment, [we] recognize that these exceptional circumstances may affect how all educational and related services and supports are provided, and the Department will offer flexibility where possible.” The Department further recognizes that “during this national emergency, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same manner they are typically provided.”

Our incredibly talented special education staff has been spending the last several weeks brainstorming ways that we can meet the needs of our students with disabilities through distance learning. Special education teachers have been working with their general education colleagues to ensure that modifications and accommodations are available to students participating in general education. Those supports will be available in the virtual learning platform, the “new” general education environment. Teachers of our students with the most significant disabilities have been creating resources aligned to Pennsylvania alternate eligible content, as well as developing individualized IEP goal work for students. Our related service providers (speech therapists, occupational therapists, vision and hearing teachers, counselors, and physical therapists) have been developing at-home activities as well and are setting up Google classrooms with those activities and supports.

You should expect to hear from your special education case manager within the next week or so to check in and discuss any concerns you might have. We understand that it may be necessary to “meet” virtually with the IEP team during the closure, especially if your child’s annual IEP is due during this time. We will continue to hold IEP meetings virtually for those students whose IEPs expire during the closure or for those whose teams deem it necessary.

If your child has a reevaluation due during the closure, we will continue to conduct the reevaluation with a review of records only. If in-person assessments are necessary, we will issue additional permissions once in-person testing is able to occur.

If you are reading this document because your child is in the special education referral phase and going through the testing process, our school psychologists will use their judgment in determining if the evaluation can be completed. Some testing for initial evaluations may have begun prior to the closure, whereas other assessments have not yet begun. Please reach out to the school psychologist assigned to your child for additional information.

As always, you are welcome to reach out to your special education case manager or supervisor. We ask for your patience as we attempt to respond to communications and convene teams where necessary, all the while, developing content and providing instruction for our nearly 2,200 students with IEPs.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for our students and families. We strive to continue providing the best services possible to your children in light of these circumstances.