Mar 31, 2020
BATON ROUGE, La. -- In response to the statewide closure of school facilities to students to curb the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Louisiana Department of Education today released a suite of resources to support continuous learning for students with disabilities. 

The resources, which are designed for school systems and families, include distance education models; samples of daily schedules and communication systems; information about remotely providing direct student services, such as occupational therapy or counseling; and guidance on how to ensure compliance with special education timelines and requirements. They are now available on the Department's COVID-19 web page, as well as on the Students with Disabilities web page.

"It is important for all students, including those with special needs, to have the opportunity to learn even in unusual circumstances," said Jackie Tisdell, co-chair of the Department's Special Education Advisory Panel. "This distance learning environment brings new challenges in meeting the needs of students who require additional support. The resources being provided by the Louisiana Department of Education will greatly improve the ability of schools and families to overcome barriers to learning for long-term success."

All public school facilities in Louisiana are currently closed to students, but school systems have been advised to continue essential functions, such as providing meals and offering distance education to all students, including students with disabilities, to the extent possible.

According to an internal survey, 56 percent of school systems are offering distance education to their students. Distance education can take many forms. It does not require the use of technology devices or Internet access. 

Last week, the Department released a toolkit to equip all school systems with tools and guidance to help them start or continue to make academic and workforce decisions based on the unique needs of their communities. 

The resources released today build on that toolkit, aiming to specifically support the continuous learning needs of students with disabilities and students receiving services under Section 504. Key documents include:
In addition, the toolkit released last week will be updated to help school systems expand accessibility and extend accommodations in continuous learning formats. 


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