Guidance from the U. S. Department of Education
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) continues to ensure additional guidance from the U. S. Department of Education (USED) is available directly to local school divisions. The USED's Office of Special Education Programs has also issued multiple Q & A documents related to COVID-19 and the implementation of IDEA under this pandemic. Additional U. S. Department of Education guidance specific to the COVID-19 pandemic may be found online at https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus.
- Superintendent's Memo #076-20: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities (March, 2020)-This is a Word document.
- Superintendent's Memo #112-20: Additional Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education Regarding Waivers for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (May, 2020)-This is a Word document.
- Superintendent's Memo #130-20: FERPA in Online and Remote Settings (May, 2020)-This is a Word document.
- Superintendent Memo #179-20: Additional Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education Regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (July, 2020)-This is a Word document.
- Superintendent's Memo #265-20: New COVID-19 Q&A Documents Released by the U. S. Department of Education (October, 2020)-This is a Word document.
COVID-19 Parent Guide
The VDOE has created this guide to serve as a resource for parents, families and caregivers on a variety of topics related to COVID-19 and their students.
- COVID-19: A Parent Guide for School-Age Children
- COVID-19: Una Guía para Padres de Niños en Edad Escolar
Social-Emotional Wellness Quick Guides
- Social-Emotional Wellness Quick Guides – These Quick Guides are designed to provide information and resources to educators and parents in a succinct and simple layout. The guides address specific vulnerable populations (eg., early learners, military students, etc) and include essential questions and considerations.
Guidance from the Department of Special Education & Student Services
- What Families of Students with Disabilities Need to Know During COVID-19 School Closure-This is a PDF document. – Tips & Resources for Consideration
- VDOE Special Education and Student Services Frequently Asked Questions – The goal of this document is to provide school divisions and stakeholders with information and solutions around the provision of services for special education and student services.
- VDOE Considerations for COVID Recovery Services for Students with Disabilities-This is a Word document. – This document highlights information related to compliance, documentation and progress monitoring, and IEP Team considerations that are necessary in order to make decisions about and address requests for COVID recovery services for students with disabilities.
- Special Education Students After COVID-19 Key Considerations-This is a Word document. – A document to help support decision making surrounding potential issues regarding school reopening and supports for students, families and staff.
- Sustaining Inclusive Practices for Virtual Learning for Students with Disabilities-This is a Word document. – This document offers guidance, suggestions, and resources for sustaining inclusionary practices for students with disabilities through continuous learning opportunities using a virtual platform.
- Supporting Students with Complex Learning Needs in Virtual and Remote Learning Environments-This is a PDF document. - The purpose of this document is to help families identify ways they can work with educators to provide instruction and support to their children with complex learning needs.
Virtual IEP Meeting Tip Sheets
- Virtual IEP Meeting Tip Sheets – Resource developed by U. S. Department of Education grant funded centers to support parents in how to hold and participate in virtual individualized education program (IEP) meetings.
Special Education Instructional Resources
- Instructional Resources Supporting Students with Disabilities-This is a Word document. – This repository of resources has been compiled to support Virginia school divisions as they endeavor to meet the continuing learning needs of their students with disabilities during the COVID-19 school closures.
- TTAC ONLINE
- Accessible Instructional Materials Virginia (AIM-VA)
- Autism Center for Excellence
- VDOE Virtual Teaching & Learning Hub - Discover best practices for supporting virtual learning for all students, find tips on lesson planning and assessment strategies, and access professional learning resources.
Gloria Dalton, Parent Ombudsman
Academy for Aspiring Special Education Leaders
Academy for Aspiring Special Education Leaders – a yearlong program that includes a three-day workshop in August followed by monthly, two-day seminars, observations, assignments and field experiences. For more information, see Special Education Leadership Academies.
The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) guarantees a free appropriate public education to all eligible children with disabilities. The steps in the special education process include:
- Identification and referral
- Determination of eligibility
- Development of an individualized education program (IEP) and determination of services
There are timelines schools must follow for each step. Timelines help to prevent any delay. Procedural safeguards, which are rights given to the parents of a child with a disability and the child upon reaching the age of majority (age 18), ensure that the child is provided a free appropriate public education according to the Federal and State rules. The services and placement of students with disabilities who need special education, are developed through an IEP, which is the responsibility of local public school divisions. The Federal and State definition of special education and specially designed instruction are:
"Special education" means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent(s), to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in a classroom, in the home, in hospitals, in institutions, and in other settings and instruction in physical education. The term includes each of the following if it meets the requirements of the definition of special education: (§ 22.1-213 of the Code of Virginia; 34 CFR 300.39)
- Speech-language pathology services or any other related service, if the service is considered special education rather than a related service under state standards;
- Vocational education; and
- Travel training.
"Specially designed instruction" means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible
child, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction: (34 CFR 300.39(b)(3))
- To address the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability; and
- To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards that apply to all children within the jurisdiction of the local educational agency.
- Transfer of Rights for Students with Disabilities Upon Reaching the Age of Majority in Virginia (PDF), also available in Spanish (PDF)
- Troubleshooting Parents' Special Education Concerns Within A Local School Division – (This document is under revision)
- Participation & Inclusion - includes guidelines for assessment participation and special test accommodations
- A Parent's Guide To Special Education (PDF), also available in Spanish (PDF)
- Your Family's Special Education Rights – Virginia Procedural Safeguards Notice (PDF)
- Extended School Year Services (PDF)
- Comprehensive Services Act for At Risk Youth and Families
- IEP Information
- Parent Resource Centers In Local School Divisions
- Legal Advocacy Groups and Resources for Special Education (PDF)
- Virginia Special Education Reference (VASER) – A resource for Virginia special education statutory and compliance information as well as curriculum, instruction and assessment policy
- Comprehensive Services Act for At Risk Youth and Families
- Center for Family Involvement
- The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
- Federal Agencies
- U. S. Department of Education
- Office for Civil Rights
- Office of Special Education Programs
- U.S. Department of Justice
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health
- State Agencies
- Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services,
Phone 804-786-8079, Text Users Dial 711 (Virginia Relay)
- Directory of Private Day & Residential Schools for Students With Disabilities-This is a Word document.
- Regional Special Education Programs
- Directory of Local Special Education Directors-This is an excel spreadsheet.