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Through the unsettled ending of the last school year, to the unprecedented beginning of this one, school communities continue to exist in a state of flux. Some districts are using fully remote learning models to start, some are opting for hybrid models, while others are implementing new safety protocols to begin in-person learning. All are working through a new way of doing school, and all plans are subject to changing local situations.
To help all students with disabilities, schools are looking at the most important document in special education and a requirement under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — a student’s individualized education program (IEP). These documents are being scrutinized, altered or expanded in order to reflect pandemic realities of how best to replicate in-person services to full or hybrid virtual learning approaches.
Teachers who are juggling in-person and virtual students simultaneously say their quality of instruction is lower than it normally would be, as they try to keep themselves in front of cameras, keep the in-person students from feeling frustrated, and keep moving through their actual lessons. The result is they’re struggling to reach the students who need their attention most.