Like many organizations nationwide, AJE is taking the recommended precautions to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) by adjusting our office operations.
Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 – Tuesday, March 31, 2020:
*Our office will be closed for walk-in intake and visitors.
*Our intake sites at Mary’s Center and the DC Office of Administrative Hearings will be closed.
*Our scheduled trainings are canceled through April 4, 2020.
We will continue to be open for intake, information, resources and other business by phone Monday-Friday, 9 -5 pm and will provide updates as we receive new developments. Many events put on by our partners have also been canceled. We have updated our blog posts to reflect those cancellations, but as the situation is rapidly changing, we encourage families to confirm the status of ALL events if you plan to attend!
Here is the link to the federal government’s guidance to State and Local Education Agencies about IDEA during these COVAD-19 closures. The guidance is in Question and Answer format, and we will post some of the Questions and Answers on our blog for families while schools are closed, but the entire document is also available here. Remember as you read this guidance from the US Department of Education, that in DC, OSSE is our State Educational Agency (SEA), and we have over 50 LEAs, Local Educational Agencies, including, for example, DCPS, KIPP DC, Friendship and many other smaller charter LEAs.
From the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) guidance to State and Local Educational Agencies about COVID-19, available here.
Question A-2: Must an LEA provide special education and related services to a child
with a disability who is absent for an extended period of time because
the child is infected with COVID-19, while the schools remain open?
Answer: Yes. It has long been the Department’s position that when a child with
a disability is classified as needing homebound instruction because of
a medical problem, as ordered by a physician, and is home for an
extended period of time (generally more than 10 consecutive school
days), an individualized education program (IEP) meeting is
necessary to change the child’s placement and the contents of the
child’s IEP, if warranted. Further, if the IEP goals will remain the same
and only the time in special education will change, then the IEP Team
may add an amendment to the IEP stating specifically the amount of
time to be spent in special education. If a child with a disability is
absent for an extended period of time because of a COVID-19
infection and the school remains open, then the IEP Team must
determine whether the child is available for instruction and could
benefit from homebound services such as online or virtual instruction,
instructional telephone calls, and other curriculum-based instructional
activities, to the extent available. In so doing, school personnel
should follow appropriate health guidelines to assess and address the
risk of transmission in the provision of such services. The Department
understands there may be exceptional circumstances that could
affect how a particular service is provided.
If a child does not receive services after an extended period of time, a
school must make an individualized determination whether and to what
extent compensatory services may be needed, consistent with
applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may
have been lost.