ED releases letter with updated COVID-19 guidance and resources for schools and students with disabilities

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Letters to Educators and Parents: New CDC recommendations and their impact on children with disabilities. March 24, 2022.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2022) – The U.S. Department of Education released updated guidance and resources to aid COVID-19 mitigation efforts in schools and address the needs of students with disabilities as the U.S. moves to a new phase of pandemic response.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote a letter to educators and parents regarding new Centers for Disease Control recommendations and the recommendations’ impact on children with disabilities.

The letter addresses the CDC’s February 2022 framework for identifying COVID-19 Community Levels and encourages “schools to lead with equity and inclusion to ensure all students have access to in-person learning alongside their peers.”

“This document is intended to help educators, staff, and families thoughtfully design learning experiences for all students – including students with disabilities,” said Cardona in the letter. “It reviews some important strategies for doing so and reiterates key rights afforded to students with disabilities to make sure they can maintain equal access to in-person instruction and receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.”

The letter includes sections on leveraging the individualized education program or Section 504 process to ensure schools have protections in place to protect in-person learning; continuing use of layered prevention strategies to keep school communities safe; and ensuring students receive education and services in the least restrictive environment.

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Last modified on April 22, 2022