Return to School Guidance issued by Department of Education

Return to School Guidance issued by Department of Education

On September 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released new guidance focused on helping states and districts support the development and implementation of Individualized Education Programs (IEP) as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students with disabilities. It focuses on the most important questions that IEP teams, including parents, must address.

Summary from DE:
“This Q&A document highlights certain Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements related to the development and implementation of individualized education programs (IEPs) and other information that state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs), regular and special education teachers, related services providers, and parents should consider.”

Throughout the Q&A, it addresses the student’s right to a free and public education in the least restrictive environment regardless of [school] setting (as available to all other students) and encourages states and districts to implement intervention and support strategies that protect student health.

Key topics: how to consider special factors (e.g., assistive technology and social, emotional, and behavioral needs); how to make educational placement decisions; utilizing evidence-based practices; addressing school-related health needs (including mask-wearing during COVID-19); and, how to consider the need for compensatory services. OSERS also clarifies that both IDEA Part B funds and federal K-12 stimulus dollars can be used to support meeting the IEP-determined needs of students.

DOEGuidance09-30-2021