New Guidance Reaffirms Importance of the IDEA for Children with Disabilities

Black mother puts a mask with a cat design onto a Black child.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has issued new guidance to special education and early intervention partners to emphasize that children with disabilities are still entitled to receive a free, appropriate, public education despite the pandemic and no matter whether instruction is remote or in-person. The guidance is available online as a document via the U.S. Department of Education site here or as a website page here.

Below, the Office underlines the importance of reopening schools safely:

“The Department recognizes that some parents may have specific health and safety concerns about sending their children back to in-person instruction because of the perceived health risk to the student’s immediate family and to other household members — even as parents are also concerned about their child missing the instructional and social and emotional opportunities that come with in-person learning. Therefore, reopening schools safely is of utmost importance. SEAs [state educational agencies] and LEAs [local educational agencies] should put in place layered prevention strategies including promoting vaccination and universal and correct mask-wearing in schools.”

Read the full press release from the U.S. Department of Education here.