Exceptional Children (Special Education)
COVID-19 Related Special Education Updates
In light of the Superintendent's announcement on Thursday, July 16, 2020, Services for Exceptional Children's is committed to providing you with updates regarding the instruction for students with disabilities in light of COVID-19 impacts. Please continue to check our website for updates as they become available.
(All plans information that will be shared are based on current State, Local and CDC guidelines and are subject to change according to guidelines in place at the beginning of school).
Frequently Asked Questions
Please find below the frequently asked questions submitted by parents of students with disabilities regarding their students return to school in August.
What is the difference between Individual Remote Learning and Universal Remote Learning?
UNIVERSAL REMOTE LEARNING (URL) The Universal Remote Learning model would be required if a recurrence or resurgence of COVID-19 demands the district remain in Universal Remote Learning and remote work environment. In other words, all students would receive instruction via remote learning. INDIVIDUAL
REMOTE LEARNING (IRL) The Individual Remote Learning option is for students in grades 1-8 who have an underlying health condition, a social or emotional condition, or have a special or extenuating family circumstance that prevents them from safely returning to a face-to-face school environment due to COVID-19. In other words, remote learning would be provided to those students who opt into the IRL model. Full time Fulton Virtual is for Grades 9-12.
How will teachers be able to have close proximity to students who need it, hand over hand assistance who need it, or any other scenario that could put a teacher and student at risk?
The District is and will continue to monitor CDC guidelines that pertain to social contact/distancing. In addition, the District is providing Personalized Protective Equipment (PPE) for safety and health purposes.
When will the clear masks be provided to ALL SEC staff?
SEC is currently in the process of ordering. As soon as PPE has been delivered, we will begin distribution to schools.
Who will be using the plexiglass partitions mentioned?
Plexiglass partitions will be provided to schools to be used for evaluations, reevaluations, one-one-one instruction, and as otherwise determined necessary.
If my child attends a school outside his/her home/zone school, will he/she be able to attend Individual Remote Learning and then return to his/her assigned school for face-to-face?
Students who enroll in Individual Remote Learning will be committing to a full semester. A hardship process will be outlined for students wanting to return to face-to-face during the semester.
If your student was placed by the district in a school other than your zone school and you opt-into IRL, then your student's enrollment when he/she returns to face-to-face will not change.
Can a student enroll in the IRL option and still take some classes face-to-face in his/her assigned school?
No. While Fulton County Schools is prepared to return face-to-face in August, we understand that some of our students will benefit from continuing their education in a remote learning environment due to health and safety considerations. As a result, Fulton County Schools has created an Individual Remote Learning for grades 1-8 and Full-time Fulton Virtual for grades 9-12 for students who have an underlying health condition, a social or emotional condition, or have a special or extenuating family circumstance that prevents them from safely returning to a face-to-face school environment due to COVID-19.
If my child is 18 years of age or older, can I opt to not enroll him/her and re-enroll him/her later when I feel comfortable?
While you may choose to un-enroll or not enroll your child, they can only be re-enrolled if they are under 22 years of age at the time of enrollment. On the day of the 22nd birthday, he/she would no longer be eligible to attend public school per IDEA guidelines. SWDs are entitled to continue to receive special education and related services until they turn 22.
Who will be assigned as my child's Case Manager if we opt into Individual Remote Learning?
Assigned case managers are still being discussed so this has not been decided yet.
Due to the nature of speech language services, students who receive speech only services will continue to receive case manager supports from the Speech Language Pathologists based at their assigned school.
If children receive services in a group setting, will these services continue to be delivered in a group model?
FACE-TO-FACE Services will be provided in the same manner as they were before school closures.
INDIVIDUAL REMOTE LEARNING In the IRL option, services will be provided via one-on-one and/or small group as appropriate.
When will IEP meetings be held to amend IEPs for virtual school?
IEP Team will begin planning to convene when teachers and staff return in August to address the IRL option via Remote Learning Contingency Plans.
If a family chooses the remote option, will the student work with their home school SPED teacher and therapists they are used to, or will they be assigned to another set of virtual teachers and therapists?
Virtual/Remote Learning teachers are still being discussed so this has not been decided yet.
Due to the nature of speech, related, and itinerant (DHH, OI, VI) services, students who receive these services will continue to receive them from the assigned school provider. Also, please note that IEP teams do not determine which specific individuals provide services to students, and personnel may change regardless of the setting.
Will students in IRL have the opportunity to socialize with the students in their home class so they can still feel connected to their friends?
Socialization opportunities are limited in the IRL option; however, opportunities can be created during live Individual Remote Learning to support online socialization between students.
Who will be on the IEP team for virtual learners?
This is still being discussed and so this has not been determined yet. We will have guidance soon.
Who do I contact to arrange an IEP meeting?
If a family chooses the IRL model, the case manager assigned to your child will reach out to schedule an IEP Team meeting.
How will social goals be addressed in the face-to-face option given social distancing guidelines?
Given social distancing guidelines, some social goals/objectives may not be able to be addressed when school resumes. Those goals/objectives will be revisited when it is safe to do so.
How do we ensure FERPA and HIPPA for group sessions if parents have to assist their child in accessing the group session?
These are treated just like a parent visit to a classroom. Teachers and Therapists do not share confidential information (i.e. student specific information OTHER than their name) over virtual platforms with multiple students.
How will social goals be addressed in the IRL option?
In the IRL option, some social goals/objectives may not be able to be addressed but some goals can be supported. The IEP team will make this determination.
If the District should have to go to Universal Remote Learning for all students, will goals/objectives be addressed?
Yes, to the extent the possible, goals/objectives will be addressed during Universal Remote Learning.
If a family chooses the IRL option, will the student be able to access recovery options provide by the District?
The student's IEP team will determine what, if any, recovery options are appropriate.
How will the District determine which students should participate in recovery options provided by the District?
The student's IEP team will determine what, if any, recovery options are appropriate
Is there more information available regarding the recovery options that will be provided for students with disabilities?
Updated information regarding recovery options for students with disabilities is forthcoming.
In addition to the systemwide remediation efforts provided by Fulton County, SEC is exploring multiple opportunities to engage our students around recovery options, including:
• after school and Saturday school options throughout the year,
• mini camps during our extended break, such as Thanksgiving break, winter break, and spring break,
• two different summer options for 2021, including a series of academies focused on literacy, math, and social skills;
• specialized summer recovery for our students in program classes that would be an all-inclusive opportunity for kids to have instruction in literacy, math, social skills and vocational skills.
Can a student's IEP be amended to provide additional supports for social distancing?
Yes, needed supports for a student will be determined by the IEP Team.
Who decides if the IRL option is appropriate for a student, the parent or the IEP Team?
The choice to opt into the IRL option is the parent’s decision. If a family chooses to voluntarily enroll in this option, the students IEP team will convene to develop a Remote Learning Contingency Plan to address programming or services in this alternative format.
Will a family have to waive the student's right to FAPE if the team doesn't believe a remote option will work for the student?
The District's offer of FAPE are the supports and services listed in your child's most recent IEP. A family is always free to reject the District's offer of FAPE and pursue alternate educational services for their child. If a family chooses to voluntarily enroll in this option, the students IEP team will convene to develop a Remote Learning Contingency Plan to address programming or services in this alternative format. Furthermore, the district cannot make all classes, programs, services, and supports available in a remote environment; and a parent’s choice to opt out of face to face instruction and into individual remote learning may result in decreased or different special education supports and services. Should a family later determine that IRL is not appropriate for their child, the family may accept the offer of FAPE as described in the most recent IEP prior to selecting IRL and receive those services.
How will IEP goals/objectives be progress monitored in the IRL option?
Additional sessions and/or activities designed to address IEP goals and objectives should be provided in order to ensure ongoing progress monitoring. This could include small group sessions designed to target common goals and objectives, additional work tasks, and/or individualized activities.
If a student being served in the face-to-face option tests positive for COVID-19 and has to stay home for 14 days, will they be provided virtual instruction?
If your child tests positive for COVID-19, you can request Hospital/Homebound Services through the IEP team.
How long does the school have to get an IEP meeting set up once school starts back if a parent request one to address gaps from the Spring?
Once school has been back in session long enough to determine if there are gaps that linger beyond the delays exhibited by other students the IEP team will begin to address the unique needs of each student based on his or her present levels of performance.
Will my child be able to take math support classes in the virtual option?
Math support classes are electives and are not offered as a part of Fulton Virtual; however, because students will be in Fulton Virtual's flexibly paced competency-based program, students can elect to spend more time just on their core Math class.
IEP Speech/Related Services
Will my child be provided Speech, Occupational, and/or Physical Therapy services in the IRL option?
Yes, Speech, Occupational, and/or Physical Therapy will be provided to the extent appropriate and practicable as determined by the IEP Team. Any of these services deemed necessary by the IEP Team will be provided via a Teletherapy platform (i.e. Microsoft Teams).
Will IEP Accommodations be provided in the IRL option?
While the IEP Team will address IEP accommodations for the IRL option, the following are examples of accommodations that may be considered appropriate for the IRL option by the IEP Team:
Examples include, but are not limited to:
• Extended time on assignments
• Extended time on tests
• Reduced questions on assignments
• Copy of notes provided
• Read aloud
Will assistive technology devices be provided in the IRL option?
If the Assistive Technology device included in a student's IEP is needed to access the IRL option, then it will be provided.
If we are unable to go to the school audiologist, will we be able to use personal/home hearing aids and will any provided equipment be compatible with those hearing devices?
Equipment compatible with personal hearing aids is not necessarily required if the parent can ensure a quiet area for learning (i.e. no tv in background or siblings distracting). However, if the student's IEP team deems equipment necessary, then it will be provided.
Instruction - Interrelated Resource (IRR)
Will co-taught services be provided during the IRL option?
ELEMENTARY In the IRL option, because instruction will be provided live on a daily basis, students who receive team taught (co-taught) services per their IEP will have a general education teacher and a special education teacher assigned to that course.
MIDDLE/HIGH In the Full Time Fulton Virtual option, courses may be a combination of live instruction and self-paced learning, therefore students who receive co-taught services per their IEP will have a special education teacher assigned to support them with completion of the course, but not necessarily assisting during live instruction.
Will Interrelated Resource small group classes be offered during the IRL option?
In the IRL option, students who receive interrelated resource small group services per their IEP will have a special education teacher assigned to that course.
If the District were to go to Universal Remote Learning, will we need to request a hard copy of work (learning packets)?
During times of Universal Remote Learning, special education teachers will provide and differentiate instruction for students with disabilities. If you are unable to access virtual instruction, the District will provide guidance on how to access technology and/or pick-up learning packets.
If the District were to go to Universal Remote Learning, what are the expectations for Interrelated Resource (IRR) special education teachers?
During Universal Remote Learning:
CO-TAUGHT Special education teachers will collaborate with general education teachers to provide and differentiate instruction for students with disabilities.
SMALL GROUP (RESOURCE) Special education teachers will provide and differentiate instruction for students with disabilities.
Instruction - Program Classes
How will CBI be impacted at high school?
When school opens in August, the District will be assessing both CDC guidelines and requirements set by our community/job-site partners to determine if community-based instruction can occur.
If a family chooses to voluntarily enroll in IRL, the students IEP team will convene to develop a Remote Learning Contingency Plan to address programming or services in this alternative format. Furthermore, the district cannot make all classes, programs, services, and supports available in a remote environment; and a parent’s choice to opt out of face to face instruction and into individual remote learning may result in decreased or different special education supports and services
Will students have virtual meetings with their DHH teachers to continue working on goals, per their IEP’s?
Yes, students will be provided opportunities to meet virtually with itinerant teachers (i.e. DHH, VI, OI) for instructional support and to work on IEP goals/objectives to the extent possible.
If my child is in a self-contained program class, what will IRL look like?
In the IRL option, students who receive services in a self-contained program class per their IEP will have a special education teacher assigned to that course. Students will receive instruction on an adapted curriculum as necessary.
Instruction - Speech/Related Services
For remote learning, will speech language therapy students receive teletherapy one on one or will students be grouped for sessions?
For both Universal and Individual Remote Learning, Speech and Related Services will be provided via one-on-one and/or small group as appropriate.
A guide for parents on how to reward our children for doing things, such as, doing thier homework, cleaning their room or brushing their teeth.
A social story for students on what riding the bus might be like given social distancing.
A social story for students that shows how school might look different when students attending face-to-face and learning from home.
A social story for students showing how school might look and feel a little different when they return given the use of masks, hand washing, and face shields.
A social story for students about why and how you might get your temperature taken at school.
The GADOE has created a list of websites that offer FREE resources in the areas of academics, behavior, and connectedness for families of students with disabilities.
This is a module that provides guidance for parents who are supporting remote learning. It includes specific guidance for parents of students with disabilities.
Snap & Read: Text reader (TTS) that simplifies vocabulary, translates text, reads inaccessible text (OCR), and captures and cites sources.
CoWriter: Word prediction that is grammar smart and inventive spelling aware. Speech recognition allows you to speak it, and we'll write it.
An overview of the tools that are available within software that are designed to help individuals with disabilities.
Guidance for parents during a School Crisis.
General guidance for parents regarding remote learning.
Practical strategiew that work for helping children of all ages who may be struggling with an at-home learning task.
Guidance for parents on creating and utilizing a breakspace within the home setting.
Guidance for parents on creating and utilizing a visual schedule for remote learning.
Guidance for parents on introducing social stories.
Article from the University of North Carolina providing guidance and resources for parents of students with autism.
Social story designed to prepare students for wearing a face mask.
Social story designed to prepare students for seeing others (staff and students) wearing masks.