We hope that this finds you all well. We understand that you likely are working through a number of challenges at this time. We want to communicate with you about your child’s special education services during changes in school closures and distance learning situations. During this unexpected and unprecedented time, our partnership between home and school becomes increasingly crucial when it comes to our children. That will include staying in close communication in the coming days and weeks.
Updates on COVID-19 from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and recommendations from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) change rapidly, and will undoubtedly result in adjustments to our plans and procedures, so please stay tuned for future communication. Currently, our plans for addressing services, evaluations and IEP meetings with your child during school closures are as follows:
Academics and the General Curriculum
During this extended school closure, Durango School District is providing educational opportunities for general education students, such as distance learning (paper options) and online/telephone instruction. We will make every effort to provide equivalent opportunities and benefits for special education students as well. In this situation, we will be providing services in a manner that your child can access. This may include consultation with you, virtual instruction, instructional telephone calls, and curriculum-based instructional activities. Our case managers are currently updating your child’s Prior Written Notice to reflect a distance learning approach.
Although IEP services will look different temporarily, they will be conducted and our staff is up to the task! Our licensed special education staff will be in touch with you and your child by phone and/or email to collaboratively discuss your child’s learning priorities and how best to address them. In the meantime, we are sharing with you valuable resources you may choose to use for establishing a Home Learning Routine and Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource.
As much as possible, evaluations for initial referrals and re-evaluations will continue as scheduled. Although some assessments can be done by phone or virtually, like parent/teacher interviews, screeners and checklists, others will require face-to-face time with students. In some circumstances, we may need to postpone assessments until schools are reopened to allow the teams to evaluate children in person.
To protect yourselves and our staff, all IEP meetings will be held virtually through phone or video conferencing, which can be accessed by a home computer or phone with cellular service. Once the meeting is scheduled, a hyperlink will be sent via email. Once received, just click on the link as the meeting is about to start. We’ve found it to be stable and easy to use. In the event it is not feasible for you to use this technology, participation in meetings by ordinary telephone conferencing can be effective.
As questions come up, or you find you need support to utilize the technology mentioned above, please reach out to your child’s special education provider and/or case manager via email.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions. We can be reached by email if needed. Thank you for your partnership. We are wishing you the best during this time.
Vanessa Giddings, Director of Student Support Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Steiner, Coordinator of Special Education, email@example.com