Schools Struggle to Educate Students With Disabilities Amid Pandemic

Updated: May 19, 2020

This article originally appeared in US News and World Report on April 15, 2020 by Lauren Camera.

Advocates worry that the 7 million students with disabilities will be left behind in distance learning.

"The reality is that most likely whenever kids go back to school after the coronavirus, there is going to be regression for all kids," Miriam Rollin, director of the Education Civil Rights Alliance, says. "But the problem is kids with disabilities are starting further behind and they're likely to regress even more."

SETTING UP DISTANCE learning for the 55 million students who were forced out of school by the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge, but it's even more of a challenge for educators to figure out how to best educate the 7 million students with disabilities. And those students, who are less likely to be able to access online education, are also at much greater risk of falling behind. "I like to look at things realistically," Eriel Jeffrey, a special education teacher and coordinator at the John F. Kennedy High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, says. "I'm not really sure what else we can do to really help and give the kids the services that are usually what they get in school because of contact. The kids we work with need that close proximity that we can't provide right now."

"I am nervous," she continues. "The ones that will fare well are the ones that are in households where somebody is able to work with them specifically and consistently throughout this and can provide structure." "I'm really concerned about the ones who aren't able to have that because their parents