Dear Issaquah families and students served in special education,
Governor Inslee’s press conference created some confusion about a potential opportunity for some students potentially returning to school. Following the Guidance for Long Term School Closures published by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) on April 8, we offer these clarifying details:
- Consistent with the timeline of the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, no group meetings of staff, including for professional learning or staff meetings, should occur. School districts should utilize online, phone, or other alternatives to address this need. ISD is holding, and will continue to hold, IEP and Evaluation meetings via teleconferencing or conference call meetings. ISD will resume initial referrals to special education on April 20th.
- Facilities should only be used for providing direct services to individual students where there is no alternative for the service delivery and both the service is necessary and essential AND the use of the facility is both necessary and essential. This is expected to be an unusual occurrence. The ISD is beginning remote teaching/home learning on April 20th. Until students have had an opportunity to engage and attempt this model, we cannot meet this threshold.
- Facilities are not to be used for providing direct services to groups of students. ISD will not bring groups of students into the building for direct service. As we receive further guidance from the state, we will update our plans accordingly.
- Any gatherings within school facilities must comply with applicable social distancing directives and health guidelines. Districts must continue to monitor and implement guidance from state and local health officials. ISD is following the social distancing guidelines for the childcare being offered to essential work force parents. We must protect the health and safety of the students and the staff. If, in the future, we determine there is a situation where a student must have an essential and necessary service delivered in person, we will also determine if that service can safely be delivered with social distancing.
Remote teaching and home learning are less than ideal for many students. Our directive from the state is to build educational services in the following order of importance, following the recommendations of the Council for Exceptional Children.
- Focus on the safety, health and welfare of our students and staff.
- Deliver services to as many students as we reasonably can in the best way we know how.
- Document our efforts and make a good faith effort to provide quality services.
- Comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as best as we can - IDEA wasn’t built for a global pandemic.
This week, your student’s IEP teacher and/or team will be reaching out to ask you if any additional supports are needed, now that we know this is our education model for the rest of the school year. Thank you for speedy responses, as it will maximize our time to build a quality plan to begin on April 20, 2020.
ISD Special Services Department