As the argument continues, “Distant Learning”, “Remote”, or “Open the schools”, this will likely be one of those debates that will never be resolved through “the science”, for there are so many points of view and perspectives behind each declaration. And human nature tends to lean toward the following: We know what we like, and we like what we know. However, what we do know as true is the following: IEP supported students require an individualized approach to learning: The foundation for IDEA [which serves as the platform for federal and state education law], guides us as we make decisions at the school level no matter what social – cultural – economic or pandemic circumstance prevails.
Within the WA State Covid guidelines, this is addressed as follows: “Collaborative, ongoing discussion about an appropriate path forward for each student, given each student’s unique needs and circumstances, is critical to ensuring equitable access and offering of FAPE for students with disabilities”. And the IEP Team serves as the platform for this dialog. “All interventions should include data collection prior to intervention and regular progress monitoring during the intervention to determine if the student is responding to the intervention. If the student is not making sufficient growth, the team should consider an intensification of the intervention, or an alternative intervention.” https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/specialed/pubdocs/Reopening-WA-Schools-2020-SpEd-Guidance.pdf
We have all been reading countless articles asking the same question: “Should my child attend school in person or through distant learning?”. Of course, it’s a personal decision. However, the CDC has made the following clear on August 1, 2020: “In-person instruction may be particularly beneficial for students with additional learning needs. Children with disabilities may not have access through virtual means to the specialized instruction, related services or additional supports required by their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 Plans”. [Petretto DR, Masala I, Masala C. Special educational needs, distance learning, inclusion and COVID-19. Education Sciences, 10, 2020;154. doi:10.3390/educsci10060154
Moving forward: As you explore the options for Fall 2020, and you are taking in account your son or daughter’s IEP services, give us a call. Often the difference between being heard and feeling a part of the team process requires the support of an advocate working on your behalf. It’s just the way it is.
Your engagement is not a matter of “remote learning” or other considerations: It’s the law!
Best to you and yours.