Dear North Allegheny Families of Students in Special Education,
At this time, the U.S. Department of Education has yet to grant the Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education waivers for special education timelines or the provision of Special Education services. Until a waiver is granted, the North Allegheny School District must continue to meet timelines for IEP meetings, evaluations/re-evaluations, and IEP implementation.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has provided us the following guidance in terms of IEP implementation during the school closure caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) while providing educational services to the general student population:
“When a school is closed because of COVID-19 response efforts and does provide educational services to the general student population, the school must ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the same opportunities, including the provision of FAPE. In addition, districts/schools must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan. Once school resumes, a child’s IEP team (or appropriate personnel under Section 504) must make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services may be needed, consistent with applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may have been lost during the closure within a reasonable timeframe.”
The North Allegheny School District’s Special Education Department has established guidelines for its teachers and related services staff on how to implement IEPs in a remote learning situation. To accomplish this, case managers will focus on providing instruction on the goals/objectives outlined in the student's IEPs and provide core content instruction when students are pulled from the general education setting. Additionally, related service providers will be using remote means to deliver the services of OT/PT and Speech/Language Therapy. Lastly, all modifications/accommodations are to be implemented across all content to the best of our ability.
Over the next several days, staff will be in constant communication to be able to collaborate with each other and our families about ways in which we can best meet the needs of our students in this difficult situation.
Dr. Joseph Sciullo
Director of Student Services