Does your child have an IEP that is not being implemented fully during school closures? We can help!
Are you having issues accessing all of the services your child needs to make progress during distance learning? Contact us!
Students with disabilities need services and meaningful instruction now more than ever. School closures haven’t eliminated your child’s right to a FAPE. Contact us if you need help advocating for your child’s needs during distance learning!
Message from A2Z about COVID-19 concerns:
Due to the concerns about the Coronavirus, we at A2Z are cognizant of the rapidly evolving impact on the day to day lives of families that we serve. We want to assure our current clients and parents who may need our services in the future, that we are continuing to work and will be available to you during this time.
During school closures, we are providing Zoom intakes with our lead attorney for new clients who need a strategy session.
We are also providing Zoom information meetings for schools, parent groups, and related services professionals who want to understand how these school closures affect their students. Contact us today to set up an information session!
We are also committed to assisting families with students who are impacted by school closures as they navigate through the coming weeks. We have resources and information about school closures and the impact of those closures available on our blog. We are also providing guidance to families whose students are on IEPs about how to best protect your child’s right to services during this time.
A2Z is always dedicated to supporting families of children with disabilities in our community, and especially in this time of uncertainty.
Contact us if you need assistance because your child has been impacted by the closures.
Due to the concerns about the Coronavirus, we at A2Z are cognizant of the rapidly evolving impact on the day to day lives of families that we serve.
Updates on Changes to Special Education in California due to COVID-19:
Go to this link for our updated post on the available information by district: School Closure Information by District.
Each SoCal School District that has implemented school closures has a different procedure in place. Each district provides different information and resources to Parents. Some Districts have a more comprehensive plan in place with specific guidance and resources. Other Districts have made statements that are very sparse and lacking in meaningful information. Some Districts have done a good job of making the information easily available to the public. Others have websites and information that are not user-friendly. Please check back here for more information and bear with us as we strive to keep this post up to date as new information becomes available.
How Does This Impact Special Education?
A2Z’s position is that all students with disabilities continue to be entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). While we understand that School Districts are facing unprecedented challenges in responding to the current concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, students with disabilities must be provided with the supports and services required during this time to ensure that their right to a FAPE is not interrupted.
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), a national civil rights organization, has issued a Statement on Student Rights Under IDEA During the COVID-19 Outbreak. The full text of that Statement can be read at this link.
To summarize the main points in COPAA’s position statement:
- If school closures are only for a brief time for all students, districts must “maintain continuity of learning by providing educational services to students with IEPs.” Provision of homebound services through various methods on a temporary, emergency basis is not considered a change of placement for the student.
- If school closures are for an extended period (more than 10 consecutive school days), then the district and the student’s IEP team must determine whether the child could benefit from homebound services and distance-based learning approaches. Parents have a right to request an IEP to discuss the potential need for special education and related services due to an extended duration.
- If districts develop plans for online learning or distance learning for all students, they need to also plan for students with disabilities to have access to these approaches or to compensatory education. The needs of eligible students who are required to stay home due to the advice of a physician or vulnerability concerns should also be addressed by the IEP team.
IEP Meetings Should Still Take Place!
IEPs are the collaborative vehicle by which appropriate educational outcomes for kids with disabilities can be achieved. Now is the time for even more collaboration and innovation, and IEP meetings are where that can happen. Districts and parents need to come together in meetings to determine how to provide the best available means to meet the child’s needs during these difficult times. Alternate methods are going to be necessary, but parents need to be involved in deciding how those methods will be utilized so that services and supports can still take place. Read more at this link.
Without IEP services in place, students with disabilities are at great risk of regression, and parents fear that they may regress in ways that they cannot readily recover from. Read a post by a mom of a child with autism about her concerns for her son during school closures at this link.
Free Resources and Help for Families During School Closures
Meals for Kids:
Many families rely on the meals provided to their kids while at school. During school closures, many districts as well as nonprofit organizations will be providing daily meals (usually breakfast and lunch) to school-age children. We will try to keep this list up to date throughout the school closures: Where to Get Free Meals for Kids During School Closures
LAUSD “grab and go” lunches: In its original announcement, LAUSD stated it would open “Family Resource Centers” at locations throughout the District in order to provide supervision for children if necessary as well as meals. On the first day of the closure, however, LAUSD announced that it had cancelled plans for these resource centers. Instead, the District now says there will be 60 locations that will provide “grab and go” meals beginning Wednesday, March 18. Check out more information at this link.
The Dream Center: This nonprofit is providing free meals for LAUSD beginning on Monday, March 16th. There are no specific meal times, but they are open between 7:30am and 6:30pm. This organization also operates a food bank service that is providing food, water and supplies to people in the community during this crisis time. The Dream Center is located at 2310 Bellevue Ave, Los Angeles CA 90026.
Long Beach Unified’s free meals for children: LBUSD is providing free meals to children for breakfast and lunch during the first week of the closure. The District has stated that no paperwork is required, and that the meals will be available regardless of what school the students attend. The meals are available to children age 1 to 18 during specific time periods at district campuses. Go to this link for more information.
Read more: We’ve posted additional information specifically about free meals for children during the closure here.
Curriculum, Materials & Activities Resources:
Virtual Field Trips: This page includes links to a variety of resources for “virtual” field trips, including things like video tours of farms and museums, live cams in aquariums or zoos.
BrainPOP: BrainPOP is an online learning platform with resources for home instruction. Their website states that during the COVID-19 crisis, they are providing access to their resources for free to schools and families. BrainPOP’s website also includes a page of information and guidance on how to talk to children about the outbreak, which includes a video with accompanying worksheet and lesson plan.
Scholastic Learn at Home: Scholastic has created a learn at home page with resources and lessons for 20+ days worth of learning. The website includes lesson plans based on grade level, and states that “every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video.” Check it out at this link.
Read more: We will be posting additional links to even more free curriculum resources and online activities on a separate page. Stay tuned!
A big challenge for districts trying to implement distance learning is that many families do not have reliable internet access in order to be able to participate in online lessons and curriculum. When announcing the closure of LAUSD schools, the superintendent called upon the community to provide necessary supports to ensure that the needs of families were met and that continued learning was possible. One of the demands was for free internet access for families.
There are now resources available for internet access to families during this time:
Charter Communications will reportedly offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to any household with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a subscription. For more information call 1-844-488-8395 and go to Charter’s webpage.
Resources For Students with Disabilities:
Talking about COVID-19: This link is to a plain language resource written by and for people with disabilities about COVID-19. It is stated to be appropriate for young adults and adults with disabilities. This second link is to a Coronavirus Social Story for children with autism.
Stay tuned! We are gathering resources like OT activities, Language activities, and other specific skill-based activities for students with disabilities!