To Our School Board Community:
We have been trying to anticipate and quickly respond to your questions during this time, given the unprecedented challenges presented to our Boards with COVID-19 and the school closure to students. We have been providing guidance on how best to meet the needs of your students, staff, and community. Last week we made you aware of pending legislation regarding the use of virtual technologies to provide students with related services. The pending legislation has not been signed by the Governor at this time. However, the State Board of Education voted to allow Commissioner Repollet to sign a temporary relaxation of the rules, “Notice of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension.” This emergency adoption of a temporary regulation was signed and takes effect today, April 1, 2020.
The temporary regulation provides in relevant part:
- Schools shall ensure students with disabilities are provided the same educational opportunities provided to their nondisabled peers through electronic communications, virtual, remote, or other online platforms, as appropriate.
- Related services to students with disabilities shall be provided through electronic communications, virtual, remote, or other online platforms, as appropriate and as required by the student’s IEP to the greatest extent possible.
- Allowing the use of electronic communications, virtual, remote, or other online platforms ensures students with disabilities are provided the services they are entitled to, as set forth by a student’s individualized education program (IEP), during extended school closures.
The provision of remote services should still be considered on a case by case basis, and should be consistent with the child’s IEP. Compensatory services may still be necessary once the current health emergency has ended. Our e-mails about recent developments are not intended to substitute for our legal advice to our clients based on your specific needs or requests. In addition, our guidance is subject to, and can be superseded by new laws, rules, regulations, or orders. Moreover, some directives from the Federal and State authorities can appear, and can be, contradictory or in conflict, so please contact us for assistance.
As always, please contact us with any questions. We will continue to do our best to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.
Authored by: Kasi M. Gifford, Esq.