The Virginia Department of Education has released their "Covid Recovery Plan", which is a document that is designed to support school administrators, special educators and parents for a plan to return to school. The following are points that we feel that may be helpful to our clients contained in this document:
- Upon a return to school, admin should plan for a providing new instruction for all new students, preparing teachers through professional development, and communicating with all team members.
- While the schools should plan on teaching all grade level standards, they should also incorporate instruction on social emotional learning, provide models for teachers on how to scaffold instruction and use data, ensure students time on learning is optimized, and ensure each building has strong instructional leadership.
The state has developed an additional document found Here that outlines extensive details on a return to school plan. Of particular interest for our clients, are recommendations to establish a system for measurable goals, monitor student's social emotional learning, and to ensure that the IEP can be implemented in the new school setting, as well as to implement ongoing assessments.
Teachers should "Refer to Virginia Tiered Systems of Support (VTSS) COVID-19 resources update and resources for implementers pages for more information on how to utilize a data-informed decision making approach to best inform revisions to curriculum and instructional practice for a school-wide approach, classroom considerations, and work with individual students"
The IEP team may determine that the student is qualified for Covid Recovery Services after careful consideration of the data 1) before schools closed due to Covid 2) student performance during closures and 3) performance upon return to school.
The Covid recovery document found here has a wonderful and detailed list of the type of data that the team should gather to make this decision.
Schools are not required to hold IEP meetings upon the return to school. The school team should consider holding an IEP meeting if: there is a lack of expected progress towards the annual goals, if any reevaluations were conducted and need to be addressed or if the school anticipates that the child may need COVID recovery services. (**Remember, parents can always call for an IEP meeting!)
Parents can request COVID recovery services and should hear a response from the school team in 10 business days.
Guidance on how to request these services is found in the Covid Recovery document
Teachers should expect to gather new data upon the student's return to school regardless of the status of the IEP or Covid recovery services.
There is an extensive list of questions that the team should consider when determining which recovery services the student should require in the Covid Recovery document as well.
Of course, this is not legal advice but instead information gleaned from the Covid Recovery document. Should you wish to get more information on next steps that you can take with your school, we highly recommend that you contact a professional educational advocate or attorney!