Updated April 14, 2020

Students with disabilities are particularly vulnerable, and continuing support from the state’s educators is critical during these uncertain times. Local education agencies (LEAs) that physically close schools should focus their planning efforts on how to continue serving these students, by tailoring distance learning to provide educational benefits to students with disabilities, to the greatest extent practicable under the circumstances.

From the State of California

LEAs must provide students with disabilities (SWD) with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with their individualized education program (IEP) and meeting other procedural requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and California law.

The California Department of Education (CDE) posted guidance and additional information to assist LEAs in this work. Additionally, the CDE extended the timelines for Data Informed Non-Compliance (DINC), CCEIS, significant disproportionality (SIG DIS), and special education plans (SEP).

From the U.S. Government

On March 21, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance on serving children with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance notes that students with disabilities still must be provided a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), and suggests this may require educators to look at an individual student’s individualized education plan (IEP) to determine what services might be provided.

At this time, the federal government has not waived the federal requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Accordingly, IDEA’s requirements, including federally mandated timelines, continue to apply. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued guidance explaining how these obligations operate in the context of school closures in response to COVID-19.


California Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education 

  • The U.S. Department of Education has provided a Q&A document on COVID-19. The document outlines states’ responsibilities to infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and their families, and to the staff serving these children.

Other Resources

General Information:

Email: info@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5515