Programs for Students with Exceptionalities (PSE): Special Education FAQ
Is an LEA required to continue to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities during a school closure caused by a COVID-19 outbreak?
The IDEA, Section 504, and Title II of the ADA do not specifically address a situation in which elementary and secondary schools are closed for an extended period of time (generally more than 10 consecutive days) because of exceptional circumstances, such as an outbreak of a particular disease.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools has closed its schools to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. Educational services are not being provided to the general student population; therefore, PPS is not required to provide services to students with disabilities during that same period of time. Once school resumes, PPS will provide special education and related services for all students with disabilities in accordance with their individualized education program.
What obligation does the district have for conducting IEP meetings during the closure?
The Pittsburgh Public Schools will act in good faith to support the needs of students with disabilities during this unprecedented challenge of school closure. During this time, IEP teams may struggle to convene, as social distancing is necessary and parents and staff, who are IEP team members, may not be available for IEP meetings. It is our plan at PPS to convene IEP meetings upon the reopening of our school buildings. Priority scheduling will be given to those students whose IEPs or pending Evaluation/Reevaluation Reports would have been reviewed during the closure time period. If a parent has an immediate concern regarding the timeline obligations, they are welcome to reach out to the Special Education department via email or the Parent Hotline – 412-529-HELP (4357).
Are there activities or resources that students with disabilities can access during the school closure?
The Pittsburgh Public Schools has created activities and resources that can be used during the school closure. These activities are available in digital form beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020, and in hard copy at the closest school building to the child’s home. The materials provided are for all students, including students with disabilities. These activities are optional and will not be graded or submitted for any purpose.