Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Considerations for Special Education Administrators
Current as of April 17, 2020
About the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Novel CoronaVirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus, with symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which may appear between two and 14 days after exposure. While there is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, the best way to protect yourself against the virus is to:
Information for Schools
The Centers for Disease Control has suggested that schools do the following if you are open:
For more information and guidance from the CDC, please click here for K-12 schools or click here for higher education. (NOTE: CDC updates its sites and recommendations often so checking back is important)
Federal Government Resources
The federal government has created a COVID-19 information page and you can click here to access that information. The following documents are linked for easy access:
03/26/2020 - FERPA Virtual Learning Information
03/21/2020 - OCR/ OSERS Supplemental Fact Sheet
03/20/2020 - State Assessment Waiver Information
03/16/2020 - OCR Fact Sheet
03/12/2020 - FERPA & Student Privacy Information
03/12/2020 - OSERS Questions and Answers
03/12/2020 - State Assessment Guidance
03/04/2020 - OCR Letter
Since your role as special education administrators is not one dimensional, it may be helpful to review this guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about pandemic related flu outbreaks as they relate to employment questions and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, you may wish to check out this bulletin from OCR sent on March 4, 2020. There is also this guidance document from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about preparing for COVID-19 in the workplace and this document from USDA about food distribution (including school lunches).
Considerations for Special Education Administrators
CASE provided a webinar for special education administrators on March 20, 2020. View the webinar by clicking here.
As administrators of special education programs, you may also wish to consider the following questions:
CASE has been providing weekly webinars. You can download the webinar information and resources by clicking the links below.
March 20, 2020
March 27, 2020
April 3, 2020
April 17, 2020
During the webinars, CASE encouraged our colleagues to make good faith efforts to provide accessible and accommodated services to students with disabilities. FAPE is certainly still an issue and administrators should not forget the Endrew F. standard: “progress in light of the circumstances.” The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the current circumstances for students with disabilities and many students are now learning at home with less instruction and with fewer direct instruction resources. School administrators should collaborate with parents and families to determine what can reasonably be provided while students are learning at a distance.
Considerations for State CASE Units
Several state units are planning on holding conferences in the coming weeks and months. At this point, given guidance from the CDC, state units should postpone or cancel any in-person events and consider holding them virtually. Here is an article about how other associations are handling the issue.
Chad Rummel, Executive Director of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), shared resources from the American Society of Association Executives which has recommended keeping members and attendees as up to date as possible on your association’s plans regarding the Coronavirus. Even if you don’t think that people are concerned about it, communicate about your plans so that people are aware. In your messaging, make clear that health and welfare of attendees is the most important factor and that your organization will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary. On your meeting website, provide links to related resources for attendees to review (such as safe travel tips and any relevant health alerts or travel advisories), and stay current on any information from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) that may affect attendees’ ability to attend an event.
During times where the state and federal government are banning groups larger than 50, you should seek guidance from your insurance company and/or an attorney from your association to understand any specific provisions that may apply to hotel and convention center costs, speaker costs, and other costs that you may have incurred. Additionally, you should discuss your relevant plans related to refunds for conference attendees who decide to cancel preemptively and how you would communicate with attendees if needed about last minute changes.
Other Resources for Members
The resources in the table below have been compiled from various other national organizations:
National School Public Relations Association
National Association of School Psychologists
American Association of School Administrators
National School Boards Association
National Association of School Nurses
American Speech/Language Hearing Association
American School Counselor Association
International Society for Technology in Education
Perry Zirkel Guidance
CASE, The Council of Administrators of Special Education, is the largest division of the Council for Exceptional Children. With close to 4500 members, it is the professional organization of choice for special education administrators across the country. CASE’s mission is to provide leadership and support to members by shaping policies and practices that impact the quality of education.