School Advocacy

Q: “Is the School Responsible for Remedying Pandemic Learning Loss?”

If your child experienced learning loss due to the pandemic, they may be entitled to school services to make up for these gaps. Here, learn more about schools may offer, and what you can do to help get your child back on track.

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Q: “My eighth-grade daughter has ADHD and a reading disorder and has had an IEP in place since second grade. During the pandemic, her school was closed for several weeks and then reopened remotely, with all her classes online. Both her attention and her reading problems made online learning extremely difficult. What are the responsibilities of the school to help her make up for the learning loss she experienced due to online learning?”

When students with disabilities are deprived of FAPE — the free, appropriate, public education that is required by both the IDEA and Section 504 — they may be entitled to services to make up for this shortfall. Such services could take the form of additional supports during school hours, tutoring before or after school, or summer services beyond those offered to all students.

The pandemic created a sudden, unique situation for schools and for those responsible for implementing IEPs and 504 Plans. The U.S. Department of Education has decided that when schools were closed for all students, they had no obligation to provide specialized services for students with disabilities.

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However, when schools were back in session, even remotely, they had the responsibility to attempt to address the special needs of students with disabilities by following their IEP or 504 Plan to the extent that was possible during remote or hybrid learning. This kind of learning was difficult for most students, especially those with attention and learning challenges, and has left many students with learning loss.

What can you do? Call an IEP team meeting (which you can do at any time) and work with them to add services and supports to make up for some of what she lost during remote learning.

Pandemic Learning Loss for Students with ADHD: Next Steps

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