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COVID Questions Answered

Published October 29, 2020 by Susan Clark Law Group LLC
COVID Questions Answered


My Child’s Progress Report Said, “Unable to Measure Due to COVID.” What Should I Do?

This is unacceptable. Neither State nor Federal Law provides a waiver to the District to provide Special Education Services or measure students’ progress. The New Jersey Department of Education’s directive to local educational agencies is that the School District’s IEP teams must consider the impact of missed services on student progress towards meeting IEP goals and objectives. The District must determine if additional or compensatory services are needed to address regression and recoupment of skills within a reasonable time. Compensatory education is services that are awarded to students with IEPs to make up (compensate) for services they lost. Keep notes on all of the services your child has missed aits the impact on your children’s process.

I did not receive any PT during remote learning. Is that Okay?

If your child has an IEP and the IEP provides for PT, then the District must provide them to your child. If you did not receive those services, you should contact the Child Study Team to inform them of the lack of services and request compensatory services and regression testing to see what the lack of services has done for your child’s progress. Do not let the District make excuses. NJ DOE, as well as USDOE both, mandated that the student should still receive those services. It does permit virtual when unable to provide in-person services and assessments.

The District said that my child could not get evaluated due to COVID. Does that mean that my child will not be evaluated?

No. Both and Federal and State law will mandate that children with special needs be reevaluated within three years, and under Child Find that the District is obligated to find children with disabilities to ensure they get early intervention. Once children with special needs are are located, evaluations will be necessary to determine what type of assessments are necessary. COVID-19 has not changed the District’s obligation. The United States Department of Education has provided valuable guidance. Read full July 6, 2020 Guidance of USDOE

My Child Regressed During Remote Learning. What are my options?

The Department is not requesting waiver authority for any of the core tenets of the IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, most notably a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Schools must provide an education to all students, including those with disabilities, and that the needs of the individual student should guide decisions and expenditures.

My child’s Aide does not want to assist us due to COVID?

The New Jersey Department of Health issued guidance clarifying that designated support persons for people with disabilities are considered essential. Hospitals are required to allow a designated support person to remain with a disabled patient during hospitalization. A designated support person may be a family member, personal care assistant or another disability service provider.

The School District CST will not pay for her 1:1 aid during remote learning. Is that allowed?

Whether the school district needs to supply a 1:1 aide during the school closure or remote learning will depend on the aide’s duties during the school days under normal circumstances. For example, suppose the aide’s primary duty is to provide assistance with an elopement, or other class behaviors, the district may argue that the 1:1 aide is not required. If the 1:1 aide’s duties are verbal, such as redirecting a student such as assistance with reading/reading instructions, then the district will have a more challenging time making the argument that a 1:1 aide is not needed in remote learning. Parents should communicate their request for an aide in writing to the school district. Make sure that letter or email provides details about why the aide will still be helpful and what kinds of assistance could be provided. As students return to school, it will be necessary for the district to do regression testing and provide services to ensure that gaps are closed such as compensatory education.

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