The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has released new guidance on how states and schools can address special education disputes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OSEP released the details in two Q&A documents in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) dispute resolution procedures.
Due to COVID-19, children may not have been able to receive programs as they were pre-pandemic. The OSEP is encouraging parents, service providers and administrators to collaborate creatively to continue to the meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families.
Click to read the full Dispute Resolution Procedure.
- How can parents and public agencies resolve disagreements regarding special education matters while school buildings and other public facilities are closed due to the pandemic?
- Is a State educational agency (SEA) permitted to extend the 60-day time limit for resolving a State complaint due to circumstances related to the pandemic?
- How can parents and public agencies use IDEA’s mediation procedures to resolve disputes when schools and other public facilities are closed or have restrictions that prevent face-to-face meetings?
- Can the parent and LEA agree to extend the timelines applicable to the resolution process given the challenges associated with school and other public facility operations during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Can the parent and LEA agree to hold a resolution meeting virtually, rather than face-to-face?
- May due process hearings be conducted virtually when schools and other public facilities are closed or have restrictions that prevent face-to-face meetings?
- Do hearing officers, or where applicable, reviewing officers, have the authority to extend the applicable timelines for issuing decisions on due process complaints during the pandemic?