Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable students in the COVID-19 public health crisis. Students with disabilities across the state have missed significant instructional time as well as related services such as counseling, speech language, occupational, and other therapies.
Yesterday, with the issuance of Emergency Order 64, Governor Sununu reminded school districts that their state and federal obligations to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students with disabilities remain despite the pandemic. Specifically, he affirmed that children with disabilities continue to have the right to a FAPE and that in order to meet this obligation, even school districts that have chosen a remote instruction environment, may have to provide in-person services if necessary to meet an individual students’ needs.
“Children with disabilities are entitled, by law, to have IEPs that are individualized and designed to meet their unique needs. Although some students with disabilities have benefited from the remote instruction/remote support model, many have been left behind and have regressed. I am pleased that Governor Sununu recognizes that one-size-fits-all solutions are not appropriate for students with disabilities and that schools may need to provide in person services for students with disabilities to enable them to receive a FAPE,” said Karen Rosenberg, Senior Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Center – NH.
DRC-NH is open during this crisis and welcomes calls from people with all types of disabilities on legal issues related to disability and COVID-19 including calls on special education services.