empty classroom desks

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.

Check out our video message for families impacted by school closures.

We have compiled resources and information for families about school closures in the Los Angeles area. We will update that information on this page frequently, and we will be adding information to include:

  • School District-specific statements on school closures
  • Information about the impact of school closures on students with IEPs
  • Resources for Families, including free meals, online learning resources and materials
  • Sample learning schedules and activities

We have also posted an update about the statements made by the U.S. Department of Education and the California Department of Education on the status of special education during school closures.

Updates on Changes to Special Education in California due to COVID-19:

Current List of All School Closures with Dates:

UPDATE March 19th: On March 19, 2020, the city of Los Angeles issued a stay at home order that impacts businesses and other entities throughout the city. This order is in place through at least April 17th. Also on March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom announced a statewide stay at home order for all of California, making California the first state to issue such order. The California statewide stay at home order is in place as long as necessary with no exact end date stated. These orders will impact school closures – schools that had anticipated dates of return in late March or in early to mid April are expected to be closed longer due to these orders.

UPDATE March 17th: On March 17, 2020, during remarks on the state of the coronavirus crisis, Governor Newsom stated that it is likely that many schools throughout California will not reopen for this school year. It is unclear what this will mean in terms of completing the instruction for students this year yet.

Read more updates at this link.

This link from NBC provides and updated list of the SoCal Public School Closures, with information about the date on which the closures remain effective. Keep in mind that many districts have only stated their anticipated date of reopening. Thus, the date may change as the situation evolves. Please read the updates above for more information.

District by District Information on School Closures:

We are compiling links to School District-specific statements on school closures on an ongoing basis.

Please read the updates above. While the link below includes the information shared by individual school districts in their statements when they closed schools, the anticipated date of return is impacted by the subsequent stay at home orders in place statewide as well as by the possibility that some, if not most, schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

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.

We have found that generally speaking, SoCal School Districts implementing school closures fall into three general categories:

  • Districts that are implementing “distance learning” which may or may not include online instruction;
  • Districts that are only implementing “enrichment activities,” which include more of suggestions than any formal curriculum;
  • District that are shutting down completely without providing instructional opportunities

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.

kids hands with paints and paint brushes

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!

Internet Access:

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!