13 March 2020

IDEA Compliance During School Closure

How does a school district provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible students during a school closure?  The United States Department of Education (DOE) issued a Q&A addressing some common questions.  The Q&A, while helpful, stresses that it is an informal guidance document, not a binding statement of law.

The Q&A confirms that, if school is closed for general education students and they are not receiving educational services, school districts are not required to provide services for IDEA or Section 504-eligible students during the school closure.  At the same time, if services are being provided to general education students, IDEA and Section 504-eligible students must be provided equal access to the same opportunities.  As this is easier said than done, school districts may wish to consider holding IEPs and 504 Committee Meetings after a prolonged school closure to determine, on an individualized basis, the effect of the closure and whether compensatory education may be appropriate.

DOE’s guidance document may be accessed here.