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How Coronavirus and COVID-19 May Affect IEPs and 504s

If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan, you may have questions about how they are affected by coronavirus-related school closings.

Federal law provides for IEPs and 504 plans, which allow for classroom accommodations and extra support for public school students with learning challenges and disabilities. Many childhood cancer patients and survivors qualify for these services because of their disease and the side effects of treatment.

If your child has an IEP or 504 plan, you may have questions about how they are affected by coronavirus-related school closings.

If your child has an IEP or 504 plan, you may have questions about how they are affected by coronavirus-related school closings.

However, the laws do not specifically address what happens if school close unexpectedly for a long period. Parents are encouraged to work collaboratively with the school team to meet your child’s educational needs during this time of coronavirus-related closures.

Coronavirus Closings and Public Schools

Some important information to know about public schools:

  • If the school provides educational opportunities to the general student population, it must make sure students with disabilities have equal access during coronavirus-related school closings. If the school closes and does NOT provide any educational opportunities to the general student population, the school is not be required to provide services to students with disabilities during that time.
  • The school should make sure each student with a disability is provided with special education and related services, such as speech therapy, to the greatest extent possible without endangering the health of the student or school staff.
  • Special education and related services may be provided online or over the phone. Many of the accommodations that students need can be provided online such as extended time on tests, modified assignments, and having materials read aloud.
  • IEP teams are not required to meet in person while schools are closed. If an evaluation of a student with a disability requires a face-to-face meeting, the evaluation will be delayed until school reopens. Evaluations and re-evaluations that do not require an “in person” meeting may take place while schools are closed, so long as a student’s parent or legal guardian consents. These same principles apply to 504 plans. Some schools may choose to hold these meetings virtually.
  • Once school is back in session, the family and school team should decide if the student needs “compensatory services” to make up for the time and instruction lost during the school closure.

Resources During Coronavirus Closures

If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s academic supports or progress, please contact your treatment center’s school program or liaison for assistance.

Many online resources are available to help you. Ask your child’s teachers for suggestions.

For more information, visit Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak.


Reviewed: April 2020