Frequently Asked Questions
- The health and safety of children, students, educators, and service providers must be the first consideration;
- The needs and best interests of the individual student, not the school system, should guide decisions and expenditures;
- Parents or recipients of services must be informed of and involved in, decisions relating to the provision of services; and
- Services typically provided in-person require creative and innovative approaches through alternative delivery methods in emergencies.
What are compensatory education services?
Why might compensatory education services be required as a result of COVID-19 related school closures or suspension of in-person instruction?
During this unprecedented, national emergency, schools must prioritize, above all else, the safety of students, staff, and communities. Consistent with this priority, schools must also ensure that—to the greatest extent practicable—students with disabilities are provided the special education and related services identified on the IEP. Because FAPE must now be provided consistent with the need to protect health and safety, there may be disruptions, delays, and/or changes in how services are provided, resulting in a student losing skills. Schools must therefore make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory education services may be needed to make up for any skills that may have been lost as a result of COVID-related disruptions to the provision of FAPE.
Are all IDEA-eligible students entitled to compensatory education services as a result of COVID-19 related school closures or suspension of in-person learning?
- Rate of progress on IEP goals before closure/disruption;
- Difference between IEP progress monitoring data preceding the closure/disruption and IEP progress monitoring data collected a reasonable time after the return to in-person instruction;
- Difference between services identified on the IEP and services offered during closure/disruption, including amount, frequency, duration, type, and delivery model;
- Accessibility of services offered to the student during closure/disruption, including attendance during virtual learning;
- Changes in the general education curriculum, as well as level and type of instruction for all students during closure/disruption;
- Input and information from parents concerning student performance during closure/disruption;
- Difference between assessment data preceding the closure/disruption and assessment data collected a reasonable time after the return to in-person instruction;
- Comparison of individual assessment data preceding the closure/disruption with school-wide student data preceding the closure/disruption to identify curriculum/instruction trends versus individual needs.
Should a school district provide summer school and/or extended school year (ESY) services for all students with disabilities as a way to address a potential need for compensatory education services resulting from COVID-19 related closures or suspension of in-person learning?
When should schools evaluate the need for compensatory education services?
How should schools determine the need for compensatory education services related to COVID-19?
How should schools calculate the amount of compensatory education services related to COVID-19?
When can schools provide compensatory education services?
What happens if a parent disagrees with the school district's offer of compensatory education services?
What happens if a parent refused services that were provided during the period of a school closure? Does the school district still have to make a determination as to the need for compensatory educational services or make an offer of compensatory educational services?