Special Education Newsletter

IEPs During COVID-19

When stay-at-home orders and school closures started in mid-March 2020, the California Department of Education (“CDE”) stated that school districts were not required to amend IEPs to address distance learning; however, the CDE noted that were some instances where amendments might be in order.  Many school districts erroneously took this to mean that no IEP meetings needed to be held.

In March 2020, the U.S. Department of Education emphasized that children were still entitled to receive a free appropriate public education.

In a publication released by the CDE in early June 2020, the CDE updated its position regarding IEP amendments and distance learning, noting:

“[I]n these challenging and evolving times including COVID-19 restrictions, it is critical that the IEP team meets and works with the family to jointly determine what is working for each student in distance learning as well as what accommodations and modality of learning allows the greatest access.”

Each eligible child is entitled to have an IEP at the beginning of the school year.  If your child’s annual IEP meeting should have been held during the time that school was closed due to COVID-19, and has not been updated, ask for an IEP meeting.  Remember, a parent may request an IEP meeting, at any time.

For related services, if those can be done remotely, ensure that the school district is providing those services, for example, individual speech.  (The CDE has explained that in exceptional circumstances, some services may be done in-person.)

If the related service can be done remotely, however, that modality does not work for your child, request a change.  For example, if your child’s group speech consists of your child and three other students, and, now that it is done via video conference, your child struggles to attend and is getting nothing out of it, you should request a change.

If a school district has not been providing your child the programs and services he or she should be receiving and is not listening to your concerns, you should consider contacting an experienced attorney.

This information is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this information is expressly disclaimed. The reader is cautioned to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney when making any decision which might have legal implications.