On March 21, 2020, the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued additional guidance to public schools across the country (the “March 21 Guidance”). The March 21 Guidance addresses the Department of Education’s concern that school districts may be reluctant to provide distance learning opportunities to students due to a perception that compliance with federal disability laws “presents insurmountable barriers to remote education.” The March 21 Guidance further explains that:

  • Schools “should not opt to close or decline to provide distance instruction, at the expense of students, to address matters pertaining to services for students with disabilities.”
  • Current exceptional circumstances may affect the method of service delivery to children with disabilities.
  • Schools should consider using online, virtual and telephonic methods of service delivery.
  • If technology presents a barrier to access or if the instructional materials are not available in an accessible format, “educators may still meet their legal obligations by providing children with disabilities equally effective alternate access to the curriculum or services provided to other students.”
Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
Photo of Alyce Alfano Alyce Alfano

Alyce focuses her practice in the area of School Law. She has experience with special education, regular education, bullying, residency and disciplinary issues. She regularly speaks on the topic of special education law for various organizations in Connecticut and nationally.

Photo of Andreana R. Bellach Andreana R. Bellach

Andreana represents boards of education in education law matters, labor relations and employment law, including labor negotiations for certified and non-certified staff, grievance arbitration, freedom of information hearings, student disciplinary matters, special education disputes, and education policies and practices. Andreana frequently speaks on…

Andreana represents boards of education in education law matters, labor relations and employment law, including labor negotiations for certified and non-certified staff, grievance arbitration, freedom of information hearings, student disciplinary matters, special education disputes, and education policies and practices. Andreana frequently speaks on education law and labor relations matter.

Photo of Peter J. Maher Peter J. Maher

Peter Maher represents boards of education and other entities in all areas of school law, with an emphasis on special education issues, labor and employment matters and, more recently, issues related to school operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A former educator, Peter draws…

Peter Maher represents boards of education and other entities in all areas of school law, with an emphasis on special education issues, labor and employment matters and, more recently, issues related to school operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A former educator, Peter draws on his firsthand knowledge of the needs and goals of school stakeholders to provide practical, community-specific and timely counsel that helps prevent problems when possible and solve them when necessary. Whether navigating sensitive special education matters or advising on day-to-day district operations, he partners with his clients to identify opportunities and pursue a clear path in the face of today’s challenges.