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Education: What Are Schools Doing for Students with Disabilities During COVID-19?



My student has a disability. What can I do to make sure my student is getting the right services while school is closed?

Contact the school district’s special education director, your child’s teacher, or building principal to ask for work at your child’s ability level and tips on how to help them with the work.

Write down the dates to track your requests for services, and the responses to such requests. Keep track of how you got the communication. Was it by telephone? Email? Letter? Did the school talk to you in a language you can understand?

Keep track how many minutes of services your child is receiving to help determine whether any services need to be made up when schools reopen.

My student has a 504 Plan or IEP. If a school provides educational services, what do they have to do to meet needs for students with disabilities?

If the school is providing education to students, it must include students with disabilities. The school has to do its best to give the same services to students with disabilities.

What if a school can’t meet the needs of my student with a 504 Plan or IEP?

When schools reopen, the child’s IEP team should meet to consider what services the child missed out on and how they can be made up to the child. Parents should keep track of what their students are missing.

Can I request an IEP meeting during the school closure?

Yes.  Many schools are holding IEP meetings on the phone or through video conferences.  Some schools have not yet set up ways to hold meetings by phone or video.  However, parents or guardians still have the right to request a meeting.

Can I request an evaluation for special education services during the school closure?

Yes. The school has 30 days to respond to your request. They can either tell you in writing why they don’t think there is a disability, or they can get your permission to evaluate. Many evaluations require in person testing, so the evaluation may be delayed until in person testing is safe.

Where can I find more information about special education services during COVID-19?

The Ohio Department of Education has released a document to help school districts provide special education services to students with disabilities. The document addresses specific requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and speaks to the most frequently asked questions that have emerged during the state’s ordered school-building closure. The document can be found here.

For more information about the service for students with disabilities see the FAQs on the Disability Rights Ohio webpage: https://www.disabilityrightsohio.org/covid-education

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