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What is HCPSS’ responsibility for providing specialized instruction and related services to students with IEPs and 504 Plans during the state-mandated school closures?

The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) does not provide specific special education implementation procedures when schools are closed for an extended period of time due to exceptional circumstances. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 does not provide this type of guidance either. HCPSS must adhere to all federal and state guidance on the subject. Current guidance for serving students with disabilities has been provided through the OSERS. The following excerpt from that guidance serves as the basis for our work:

If an LEA continues to provide educational opportunities to the general student population during a school closure, the school must ensure that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities, including the provision of FAPE. (34 CFR §§ 104.4, 104.33 (Section 504) and 28 CFR § 35.130 (Title II of the ADA)). SEAs, LEAs, and schools must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP developed under IDEA, or a plan developed under Section 504. (34 CFR §§ 300.101 and 300.201 (IDEA), and 34 CFR § 104.33 (Section 504)).

Your child’s case manager/service provider has sent or will send an initial letter pertaining to an IEP/504 individual continuity of learning plan. During phone conferences, school staff and parents/guardians will discuss and decide what a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) will look like in light of this unusual closure and each student’s current circumstances.