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Giving Compass' Take:
• Kalyn Belsha, writing for Chalkbeat, explores the concerns for students with disabilities as school closures are more common due to coronavirus.
• What are some of the barriers for students with disabilities if they will have to start homeschooling?
• Read more about school closures during COVID-19 pandemic.
When the Northshore School District in Washington state closed all its schools last week out of concerns over the new coronavirus, district officials promised they’d support their students with disabilities as schools moved all lessons online.
School leaders distributed thousands of laptops and WiFi hotspots to students and urged parents of students with disabilities to share concerns and questions. Still, the switch has proved difficult for some parents — something the district says it’s working to address.
“Unless one of us is sitting with him the whole time, he’s not getting much of an education,” one parent, whose 6-year-old has a disability and found it difficult to concentrate on the online lessons, told The Seattle Times earlier this week.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education told K-12 districts that if they close due to COVID-19 and continue to offer instruction remotely they must make that accessible to students with disabilities — something many advocates say will be difficult to do quickly and for students with a wide range of disabilities.
Those challenges have some disability rights advocates suggesting a better solution would be to make up the time later, rather than scrambling to figure out how to make remote instruction work for students with disabilities.
“I’m very, very concerned because when these school closures become a nationwide issue … this population will just regress,” said Chris Yun, an education policy analyst at Access Living, a Chicago-based disability rights group. Another way to do it, she said, would be for a district to proactively consider extending the school year or offering summer school.
At least one state has cautioned districts about turning to remote learning because of the equity issues that choice could create.
Read the full article about kids with disabilities by Kalyn Belsha at Chalkbeat.