The Provision of Services for Students with Disabilities In the Event of School Closure Due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
The Sag Harbor School District is committed to protecting the safety and health of all of our students, staff, their families as well as the broader community and this continues to be a priority during these unprecedented and challenging times. Our District personnel in collaboration with various stakeholders have been working tirelessly to adjust, adapt and support these efforts in the most efficient and effective way possible. This includes the support of our students with differing needs and we appreciate these ongoing efforts.
Universal Access and Supports for All Students:
It is our belief that supporting all students including Students with Disabilities (SWD), students who are English Language Learners (ELL), those who have other special needs and/or circumstances should be embedded in the way we support all students. This is why the Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Department has been working as an integral part of the leadership team to support the overall approach to continued instruction. Our commitment to an inclusive environment does not waiver during challenging times. The provision of continuity of learning is primarily supported through access to all remote learning opportunities provided to the general student population and accommodations/adjustments are determined on an individualized basis as needed and according to Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
The Sag Harbor School District has prioritized in-person instruction of our students with special needs. At this time all students who have an Individualized Education Plan and/or who require intensive ENL support have the option of attending school in person five days a week.
Provision of Special Education Services:
In planning for equal access to the continuity of learning specific to Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that extend beyond the District’s universal approach to remote instruction the individual student’s needs must be taken into consideration and the provision of Special Education services offered. Assistive technology, instructional phone calls, teletherapy, teleintervention, video conferencing, meetings held on digital platforms are a few of the practices that are/will be implemented. According to the Federal and New York State recent guidance documents Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) during this time “may include, as appropriate, special education and related services provided through distance instruction provided virtually, online or telephonically” consistent with privacy interests (Suriano 2020). Instruction may include both synchronous and asynchronous approaches.
Remote Schedules will be written for every student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to assist with clearly communicating the provision of services during remote instruction. It will include the provision of mandated services as indicated on the IEP, the approach to remote delivery and the schedule for the delivery of those services. The schedule will also address any identified additional supports that a student may need during remote learning that may not be needed during in-person instruction.
Contingency Remote Learning Plans will be written for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to address their specific needs during remote instruction that may require an amendment to the IEP.
All Remote Plans/Schedules are dynamic and subject to change based on individual needs and other contextual variables.
Committee on Special Education:
The Committee(s) on Special Education and Preschool Special Education in the Sag Harbor School District will continue to run as scheduled through a digital meeting platform provided the parent(s)/guardian(s) agree. Options will include audio and video participation. It is important to hold Annual Review and Reevaluation meetings to ensure that all students with a current IEP are making progress and will have a current IEP for the 2021-2022 school year.
Guidance regarding support for our students during this time has been ongoing and is constantly being updated. You have our assurance that the leadership team continues to review all available resources, guidance documents and feedback and will be following up by making adjustments when appropriate. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
Carleen Meers, PhD | Director of Pupil Personnel Services
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