How to Handle IEPs During the Coronavirus Crisis? Some Expert Advice

This article originally appeared in EdWeek on 4/3/2020 by Corey Mitchell

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act outlines specific requirements for identifying and educating children with disabilities, but the coronavirus crisis has sparked fierce debate over how adaptable the law is to a world where online education may be the only option.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has instructed school districts that federal law should not be used as a cover to prevent them from offering online learning to students with disabilities. However, experts say, that guidance and fact sheets from the federal government have offered little direction on the topic beyond encouraging parents, educators, and administrators to collaborate creatively—and many school districts have struggled to respond.

For some educators, the biggest challenge has been determining how to handle students' Individualized Education Program, the carefully constructed plans designed to meet the educational needs of children with learning and physical disabilities in an online learning environment. More than 7 million children in U.S. schools have IEPs, leaving no room for a one-size-fits-all resolution.