COVID-19 Special Education Plan 2020-21
This page was created to provide background on Special Education planning and preparation; review available supports and services; and answer commonly asked questions from the community related to Special Education. The information below was adapted from the August 19 Special Education Webinar on Reopening Radnor. Click here to watch the meeting. Click here to view the PDF version of the presentation. Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information on Reopening Radnor, view the Reopening Radnor webpage here (mobile version here).
Chester County Health Department Guidance Expectations
Programs for students served by special education, early childhood development, or career and technical education programs, schools must balance the unique needs of the student and the health and safety of everyone involved. It is the school’s responsibility to assess which elements of these programs can be provided effectively through each instructional model. Additionally, each student’s unique needs must be assessed to determine which needs can be met through each instructional model. Such assessments inform what is necessary to ensure equitable learning and will require schools to consider more in-person instructional models. If more in-person instructional models are considered for students served by special education, early childhood development, or career and technical education programs, the school guidance above should be followed with great fidelity, and include the following additional guidance:
- Social Distancing
- Monitoring Health
- Face Coverings
Initial and Annual IEP/GIEP/504 meetings will continue to occur. Revision meetings will occur only as needed. COVID Individualized Special Education Plans will be sent to each parent to support Phase 2 and 3.
Evaluations already in progress and biannual or triennial reevaluations will continue. Initial evaluations will begin after Sept 8. Psychologists have been provided information and will communicate directly with parents and the school-based teams. Summer testing has begun and will continue per the RTSD Health and Safety Plan.
504 Agreements During COVID
- 504 case managers (elementary) and 504 coordinators (secondary) will continue to oversee the implementation of these plans.
- Similar to the Interim Plans for students receiving special education services, these documents are written as if the student were in our building for in person instruction.
- Case managers will collaborate with the staff working with your child and support the implementation of the 504. Access to the curriculum, depending on which Phase we are operating in, may vary as the instructional delivery model changes.
- Concerns regarding current accommodations in these 504 agreements should be forwarded directly to the assigned case manager for consideration. Any revisions to the 504 agreement will be determined by the team in collaboration with the parent.
Zoom Meeting Protocol
- Scheduling- case managers will continue to work with scheduling secretaries.
- After the meeting is confirmed, the case manger will schedule the meeting on the Zoom platform and invite the meeting participants.
- When possible, documents should be emailed to the parent at least 24 hours in advance.
- Documents will be written as if the child were physically in the building (Phase 1).
- No reference of the interim plans will be present within the IEP, however, as indicated on the Q&A and PDE website, recoupment services will be discussed further and documented appropriately in the IEP based on the reopening timeline for the district.
- After the meeting, case manager will finalize and email the documents to the parents.
Communications for 2020-21 School Year
- Initial Communication - July-early August, communication sent to RTSD staff regarding reopening scenarios
- Board Approval - RTSD Health and Safety/Reopening Plan approved at the July 28th Board Meeting. Reopening plan revised, by board vote, on Aug 18thto begin ALL virtual until Oct 9th.
- Case Manager Involvement - Communication and training occurred with all Special Education teachers regarding reopening plan, follow up will occur.
- Newsletters - Click here to view the August newsletter.
- Special Education Webinar - August 19 from 6-8 pm via zoom to discuss special education plans with parents.
- Parent Selected Virtual Programming - Parents of students receiving special education services who elect all virtual will receive follow up from the case manager to review this plan.
COVID-19 IIESEP (Interim Individualized Emergency Special Education Plan) - Created to summarize and provide notice to parents, as required by SB 751/ACT 13, and outlines interim services proposed to be provided for each student receiving special education services. Interim plans are the District’s best efforts at providing FAPE due to the mandated school closures and given the current required virtual learning environment. Parents have been notified via email by case managers with the proposed COVID-19 IIESEP.
Parent participation will continue to occur weekly with ongoing communication via the department and case managers. Staff will continue to be trained on implementing virtual instruction specific to programming needs in a student’s IEP.
Click here to view COVID-19 IIESEP template (updated 8/19/20). Click here to view the Parent Input Form (due August 31, 2020).
PDE COVID Compensatory Services
How will this work? (IEP Team Decisions)
- Case managers will gather baseline data on each student's current present educational levels;
- Staff will compare Fall 2020 baseline data to 2019-20 school year progress monitoring data for each student to determine if there is a regression in skills and/or behavior patterns and/or a lack of progress
- The teams will Initiate “recoupment” services for a student if comparison data evidences the student’s regression in skills and/or behaviors and/or failure to make progress as a result of the extended school closure; and
- Case managers will track progress of each student receiving recoupment services associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued guidance regarding what they have termed "COVID-19 Compensatory Services (CCS)" as outlined on their website. The Special Education Department is reviewing the guidance and, in consultation with individualized education program (IEP) teams, will make an individualized determination whether, and to what extent, additional services may be needed as a result of the extended school closure. Parents are critical members of IEP teams and will be included in this decision-making process.
More information will be forthcoming regarding the departments plan for determining these services. Please reference the PDE website and the FAQs below for more information.
Special Education FAQs
We will continue to hold annual IEP meetings for all students in which annual IEPs come due. While we are in either Phase 2 (Hybrid) or Phase 3 (Virtual), the IEP team will create and issue a COVID-19 Individualized Special Education Plan. These plans will be similar to the COVID plans that were followed at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but now will provide for supports/instruction that will occur during the in-person time that each student will be afforded according to their IEP team and their educational level (Elementary (K-5) and Secondary (6-12). Upon fully reopening our buildings and all students returning in-person, the COVID-19 ISEP/HSP will be discontinued and the IEP fully implemented (Phase 1).
Every family will have the opportunity to choose what is best for their child based on the COVID crisis. If a family chooses the virtual model, the COVID-19 ISEP/HSP will outline the supports and services to be provided. This will be outlined in the Phase 3 section of the document.
The RTSD Health and Safety and re-opening plan was just finalized and approved during the early morning hours of July 29. Our special education teachers have received instructions on how to write these plans and they are currently being drafted. You will receive a questionnaire to provide input and information regarding supports that worked while we were virtual during the last closure. Although the teachers are out on summer break, we will be working to find time now for them (or another special education team member) to draft these plans. The COVID-19 ISEP/HSP will be sent via email to all families once they have been completed.
We understand that these are difficult decisions for families to make. We would ask that you work with your child’s team to provide advance notice before shifting to a different instructional model. Our team will work quickly as possible to adjust the COVID-19 ISEP/HSP according to your selection and will revise as deemed necessary. The planning for these changes (depending on your student’s needs) could take 7-10 days, or longer, to fully implement. We appreciate your understanding and prior notice before changing course with your child’s instructional plan.
If your child attends in person for ½ day or every other day (depending on level) we will work to schedule for ‘in-person’ session(s) to the best of our ability. However, if this is not possible the related services will be provided virtually. Your assigned therapist will work directly with you and your child’s school based team to schedule these services.
he Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued guidance regarding what they have termed "COVID-19 Compensatory Services (CCS)" as outlined on their website which can be found by clicking here. The Special Education Department is reviewing the guidance and, in consultation with individualized education program (IEP) teams, will make an individualized determination whether, and to what extent, additional services may be needed as a result of the extended school closure. Parents are critical members of IEP teams and will be included in this decision-making process.
As outlined in the RTSD Health and Safety Plan and in accordance with the Governor’s mandate for all students, ages 2 and up, to wear a face mask, we will be working with all students to support the wearing of a mask. Exceptions are outlined in the RTSD Health and Safety Plan as well as the Governor’s order, including for medical reasons and a child’s disability. The anticipated exception for a child’s disability should be communicated directly to the assigned case manager so they can address this within their educational plan. All staff will be working directly with students to support the teaching and learning of this new social skill. Face shield options are also outlined in the RTSD Health and Safety Plan.
When our students are with us (in-person) we will schedule for them to be assessed as needed by the psychologists. However, there may be instances where we would request that the students come in during the times that they are not in-person to be assessed by our psychologist. Our psychologists will work directly with you and your child’s team to ensure that we are able to appropriately complete the evaluations. During our current closure we have set up testing rooms at the administration building with access to plexiglass screens, face shield, and disinfectant wipes/hand sanitizer. If needed (and able) we can continue to provide these services for our families/students.
The Special Education and Transportation departments are working closely together to coordinate transportation for all students who require it. Guidelines for transportation are outlined in the RTSD Health and Safety Plan which is located on the RTSD website. Please communicate additional concerns or requests related to transportation to your assigned case manager or the transportation department directly.
Continued Levels of Support
A priority of the district is to continue to provide ongoing mental health supports for staff, families and students. Below are supports provided from March to June of 2020 and a link to information for parents:
- Parent Information - Information is posted on RTSD website and can be found by clicking here Parent Resource Page . Information includes district contact information, outside provider, information, and crisis resources.
- Parent Education - A mental health webinar was also created to provide parents with additional resources at home. We will continue to create resources with the support of our staff.
- Emotional Support - ES teachers implemented virtual curriculum (Positive Action as well as other resources) for their students.
- Clinical Support Counselor - Lakeside counselors provided individualized counseling for students on their caseload. Additional support was provided by Lakeside for new students as needed. Lakeside contractors will continue to be contracted for 2020-2021 school year.
- School Counselors - continued to support students via virtual methods, support transitions and course selections, ACT 339 activities, attendance, and more.
- Social Workers - continued to support families extensively as needed with food, mental health resources, welfare issues, technology distribution, and more.
- Caron Foundation - provided support for ongoing SAP processes via virtual platform, support for families with group and 1:1 therapy, and more. SAP will remain virtual for parent portions of the process for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Risk/Threat Virtual Assessments and DCIU Consultation - Ongoing consultation with district Risk and Threat Assessment contractor as needed and training to implement virtual assessments.
- Resources - Ongoing resources were provided via RTSD website and weekly Special Education newsletters, including mental health provider information, teletherapy and telehealth processes and local providers, tips for parents to support at home instruction and more. Communications department has created a standard format for Special Education newsletters, and these will be sent out at minimum on a monthly basis.
- Paraprofessional Training - Mental health, warning signs, mandated reporting requirements, suicide risk signs, and risk/threat assessment processes and support via the DCIU Risk/Threat, Assessment consultant, district social workers, and district ES Teachers. Training August 31 and Sept 1 is scheduled for all paras.
- Attendance and Participation - Counselors and social workers supported attendance/participation in the virtual instruction and monitored absences throughout the closure. Excessive absences were reviewed, and staff communicated with parents and students to complete well checks and refer out for additional mental health support as needed.
- Individual Student Support - Students and parents received training and support on an individual basis in the areas of warning signs, risk factors, referral processes, and available mental health supports via the SAP and Interim COVID Plan process.
- Weekly Meetings - District mental health provider staff meets weekly with the Special Education Department to review needs, identify gaps, plan for additional supports, meet with outside agencies, and more.