• Must my child's IEP be amended to reflect that they are being provided with distance learning?

According to the California Department of Education (CDE), “if the [school district] can continue providing special education and related service as outlined in the IEP, or an agreed upon amendment to the existing IEP, through a distance learning model, they should do so.”


The CDE states that it is not necessary for IEPs to be amended for every student solely for the purpose of discussing the need to provide services away from school, because that change must necessarily occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IEP that was in effect at the time of the school closure is the operative IEP. And school districts, to the greatest extent possible, should provide the services called for in the IEP in alternative ways.

The CDE's views coincide with the U. S. Department of Education's March 2020 guidance statements which emphasize that federal disability law allows for flexibility in determining how to meet each student's unique needs, and the determination of how a free appropriate public education is provided may need to be different during this unprecedented time of national emergency.

  • May an IEP meeting be held now to consider a proposed change to my child's IEP?

Parents or school district staff may request an IEP team meeting or an amendment to a child's IEP. School district staff may convene an IEP meeting, particularly when necessary to address unique circumstances related to distance learning.

Some school districts have amended student's IEPs to include a distance learning plan that outlines the special education services to be provided temporarily to the student during the health crisis. 

  • My child needs a complete neuropsychological evaluation. What do I do to get one?

Reach out to the neuropsychologist you have chosen to assess your child and speak to them. Each practitioner may approach the challenges with the coronavirus differently. In some instances, it may be possible for the neuropsychologist to complete a comprehensive patient history, an interview with parents and teachers, and some testing and/or remote observation. In-person visits may possibly be scheduled for this summer, if needed to add to or complete preliminary reports. 


  • May a school provide my child with in-person services or services in my home?

In some exceptional situations, school districts may provide certain supports and services to a student in-person or in the child's home in order to maintain the student's mental or physical health and safety so that the child may access distance learning or other learning options. Such services could include, for example, behavioral health, nursing, occupational therapy. 

  • My child does not have a computer he can use for distance learning. Will the school provide one?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, the California Public Utilities Commission has made $5,000,000 available for the purchase of computer devices, and more than 70,000 laptops, Chromebooks and iPads have been donated for student distance learning. Contact your child's school district to find out about obtaining one of these devices.


  • I need to send scanned documents to my attorney, but I don't have a scanner at home. How can I get them to her?

If you don't have a scanner available, you can use a scanning app on your phone. There are many good ones available. You might try Adobe Scan (Apple App Store/Google Play) or Microsoft Office Lens (Apple App Store/Google Play). 

  • Can I file a special education due process complaint against the school district now?

Yes. The Office of Administrative Hearings, which handles special education due process complaints in California, has implemented special procedures to ensure continuation of their services. Mediations and hearings are now to be provided by telephone or video conference.

This page was last updated on May 11, 2020. Check this webpage for regular updates.

Please stay safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding the COVID-19 Emergency

and Special Education


  • Are my child's rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at risk due to school closures?

As part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) ACT that Congress passed last month, U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos was given thirty days to decide whether to propose possible  waivers to portions of the IDEA to provide states and school districts flexibility to respond to the health crisis. Ms. DeVos declined to seek Congressional waivers for the IDEA rights to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

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The information on the Caledattorney website is general information for California residents only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice or relied upon for any purpose. Contact California special education attorney Molly Watson for more information about legal services.

Molly Watson is available to meet with parents by Skype or FaceTime.


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