From the School Leaders' Liability Practice Group

Educating Students During the Coronavirus Pandemic

This bulletin is in reply to recent questions we have received about educating students during the coronavirus epidemic.

The U.S. Department of Education Urges School Districts to Provide Online Instruction

With the recent publication from the Department of Education urging Districts not to forego online instruction:

  • Because of concerns related to servicing special education students, there have been a number of questions regarding the provision of virtual services.
  • Despite the Department of Education’s announcement, there has been no waiver of the provisions of the IDEA, 20 U.S.C. 1400, et seq.
  • Instead, they ask Districts to pursue flexible implementation of the provisions of the IDEA. 

Currently, we are working with numerous school districts to develop strategies to meet their students' needs in this difficult time:

  • This includes both remediation and virtual instruction, as well as the provision of related services by alternative means.
  • NOREPs and IEPs will need to be amended to address how the provision of services will change through virtual instruction.
  • If any services cannot be provided, they should be tracked and made up as compensatory education when the student returns to school.
  • IEP meetings can be held via telephone, or parents can agree to a written modification.
  • Evaluation report timelines will remain in effect, despite the difficulty that will exist in collecting data.

Working with you, we continue to develop new and innovative strategies for educating your students, being mindful of your legal obligations to all students.