Coronavirus and Schools: NOREP Language for Interim Services During the COVID19 Pandemic (Follow Up)
Some answers to some quick questions we have already received about the NOREP we have proposed in yesterday's post:
Q. Do we need a parent signature to proceed?
A. No. Parent signatures are not needed on any NOREP other than one by which special education services are offered for the first time.
Q. Do we have to wait ten days to implement the plan we are proposing in the NOREP?
A. No. The NOREP does not change anything about the existing program and placement of the child. The child will either log on and take advantage of the services you are offering—or not. Either way, the services can begin (with the exception of one-on-one related services offered by tele-practice) regardless of whether the child is participating in them. The parent and the child, in other words, are in total control of when the emergency services would begin.
Q. What if the parent requests mediation or due process?
A. Ordinarily, a request for mediation or due process would invoke the “stay-put” or “pendency” requirement of the law. In the current circumstances, however, no “pendent” program or placement is operating for the overwhelming majority of children. The emergency plan, moreover, is not intended to change the existing program or placement of the child. It ceases to exist as soon as school is back in session. Could a hearing officer require a different emergency plan for a child? Maybe, but any such corrective action would have to fall within the parameters of the governor’s school closure and social distancing directives.
Q. If we are having a virtual IEP annual revision meeting during the closure, should we include the emergency services in the revised IEP?
A. No. Keep the emergency plan and the revised annual IEP separate. The annual IEP describes what programming will be in place for the child when school reopens. A parent might want to discuss the emergency plan at the IEP team meeting, and we wouldn’t discourage such discussions. Any revisions to the plan that result from such discussions, however, should be reflected in a re-issued NOREP describing the emergency plan. The annual IEP should be issued with a separate NOREP.