Update for March 31, 2020, on Individual Education Programs (IEPs)

Update for March 31, 2020, on Individual Education Programs (IEPs)

Dear KCSD Families of Students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs):

During this time of school closures due to COVID-19, there are some important things to remember. Any actions taken by a district or school regarding closures are for the safety of all students, families, school personnel and community members. As districts are determining the most appropriate steps to ensure student and staff safety, we want to provide you with guidance relating to students with disabilities and their services. It is extremely important for families and schools to collaborate and communicate regarding services for students with disabilities.

The United States Education Department understands that, during this national emergency, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same manner they are typically provided. During the current emergency school closure, it may be unfeasible or unsafe to provide hands-on physical therapy, occupational therapy, or tactile sign language educational services. Many disability-related modifications and services may be effectively provided online. These may include, for instance, extensions of time for assignments, videos with accurate captioning or embedded sign language interpreting, accessible reading materials, and many speech or language services through video conferencing.

What will happen to my child’s services when school is canceled for all students due to COVID-19?

  • After an extended closure, districts are responsible for reviewing how the closure impacted the delivery of special education and related services to students eligible for special education services. The IEP teams may determine students need compensatory services or extended school year services.

  • If your child's annual review is unable to be conducted or an initial eligibility determination cannot be made due to additional testing requirements and was due during the school closure, appropriate school staff (i.e. special education teachers, school psychologists and related service providers) will be in touch with you in order to ensure that these processes are completed as soon as school reopens.

What will happen to my child’s services when a school is closed but educational services continue to be provided through non-traditional means such as distance learning?

  • If KCSD elects to utilize nontraditional methods to provide educational opportunities to the general student population, then the district also must ensure that students with disabilities have equitable access to the same opportunities, including the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education. KCSD and schools will work to ensure that all students receive services to the most appropriate and reasonable extent possible.

  • Although special education or related services may need to be adjusted, districts must provide IEP services. KCSD may provide IEP services through an alternative means, such as curriculum-based school work packets, online learning, or some other distance learning adapted to the student’s needs and location.

  • This is not a change in placement for your child. This is a temporary adjustment in service delivery for all students due to the current natural emergency.

  • Once schools reopen, IEP teams will be responsible for reviewing how the closure impacted the delivery of special education and related services to students with IEPs. Each student’s IEP team must make an individual determination of any skills that may have been lost because the student did not receive educational benefit due to missed special education services.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Due to office closures, email is the best way to reach me, tarrence.mcgovern@kcsdschools.net. For general questions, you may access the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Services webpage at https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/special-education-services.

Please stay safe! Your child’s teacher/therapist(s) are happy to help in any way possible.

Tarrence B. McGovern
Director of Special Services