Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices, Charter School Administrators, Principals, and Nonpublic School Directors:
Information Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Services to Students with Disabilities
As we work together to address ongoing concerns related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on schools, communities, families, and students, we want to ensure that school communities across the state are connected with up-to-date guidance and information to support local decisions about protecting the health and safety of students.
The California Department of Education (CDE) acknowledges that closing a school is a complex and difficult decision. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) should continue to work with county public health agencies to evaluate appropriate options given their regional context. In the event school closure is deemed necessary, assessing the impact on students with disabilities and their families warrants unique consideration.
The United States Department of Education (USDOE) recently issued a document titled “Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak,” which can be accessed on the USDOE website at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf (PDF; 2MB). The California Department Education (CDE) encourages LEAs to review the document in its entirety for guidance on services to students with disabilities, placement considerations, and appropriate use of funding. Further information and resources for schools and school personnel related to COVID-19 is available on the USDOE’s website at https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus .
Additionally, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a document titled “Considerations for School Closure” outlining factors for LEAs to consider when discussing potential school closure, including a sample decision tree. The document is available on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/considerations-for-school-closure.pdf (PDF).
The CDE has established a web page for information related to COVID-19 on the CDE website at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp. Please refer to this webpage for guidance from the CDE and other public agencies on the response to COVID-19.
Many questions about structuring special education and related services for students with disabilities have yet to be answered as we navigate this unprecedented response to COVID-19. LEAs are encouraged to work collaboratively and creatively to provide instruction and services in an equitable manner for all students.
The CDE stands ready to support LEAs in their efforts to protect the safety of students during this time. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please email SEDINFO@cde.ca.gov.
Kristin Wright, Director
Special Education Division