Advocacy During Covid-19

These are extraordinary circumstances that require our patience and flexibility. Yet, even in these times, supports and services to students with disabilities cannot be put on hold. As parents, we can work with schools to find creative ways to keep our kids engaged. We do not know how long this pandemic may last, so we encourage parents to remain informed advocates for their children. In May 2020, we posted an article on Medium: “How to Advocate for Your Student with an IEP During Distance Learning: Sample Letter.”

We’ve posted links to resources below, but keep in mind this is a rapidly moving situation and information changes quickly.

NEW YORK CITY

Accountability: If you feel remote learning is not being administered appropriately, you can still call Parent-311 at 718-935-2007 and get a transaction number. Email your transaction number and a brief description of the problem to specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov .

Get the latest updates from NYC DoE at Return to School 2020

NYC DoE District School Re-Opening Plan Submission to NYSED (8/2020)

Grades, attendance, schedules, transportation, available on your child’s NYC Schools account.

New York Post article about class action Manhattan federal lawsuit filed by NYC parents of students with disabilities, particularly Brain Injury Rights Group. (7/16/2020) Parents can still join the lawsuit. (8/20/2020)

NYC DoE is offering the Learning Bridges program to provide free child care options for students 3K to 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning. Fill out the survey, if interested (8/20/20).

NYC DoE Teletherapy Guidelines for related service providers (OT, PT, SLP, counseling, etc). (3/17/2020)

NYC DoE iPad Loan Program for Remote Learning and Technical Support for using Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and setting up remote learning account. (3/20/2020)

ASD Nest Support Project at NYU Steinhardt Resources for families and educators on Remote Learning includes practical info on setting up home environment, plus links to social story from Carol Gray about coronavirus. Peter Vermeulen’s post on ASD and Covid-19 tips is worth a read, especially the part about keeping positive and “pressing the context button.” (3/20/2020, and ongoing updates)

FAQs for NYC parents answered by Skyer Law includes what’s going on with scheduled IEP meetings and remote assessments and transportation (ongoing).

NY STATE

NY State Education Dept (NYSED) Chancellor Suspends State Testing. (3/20/2020)

NYSED Latest Guidance and Updates on Coronavirus for K-12.(ongoing updates) – Memo with Q &A on providing services to students with disabilities (3/27/20)

NY State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs has the TRAID Program, which provides access to assistive technology for any New Yorker with a disability.

NY State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Guidance on Covid-19. (ongoing updates)

New York Immigration Coalition Education Collaborative advocates and assists on immigrant and MLL/ELL education.

FEDERAL

Admittedly, a go-to source for all of us here: Wright’s Law has posted FAQs (3/18/20) on FAPE, LEA and making up missed services due to COVID-19.

Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates (CoPAA) COVID-19 resource page – includes advocacy alerts (ongoing) and CoPAA FAQ’s on Compensatory Education. (8/13/2020)

US Dept of Education Coronavirus Information and Resources for School Personnel contains guidance (Q & A for Families, 3/12/2020) and factsheets (Supplementary School Guidance Factsheet 3/21/2020) for provision of FAPE to students with disabilities during the epidemic. (ongoing updates)

US Dept of Education FERPA and Covid-19 FAQs. (3/16/2020) See also slideshow on FERPA and Virtual Learning (3/30/2020)

US Office of Civil Rights Enforcement Discretion on Teletherapy Factsheet with guidance for related service providers to use non-HIPAA compliant platforms during epidemic/emergency situations. (3/23/2020)

H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (full text) (3/24/2020)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Information and Resources on Coronavirus. (ongoing)

Consider signing up for Perry Zirkel‘s monthly legal updates (ongoing).