Posted and up-to-date on 4/22/2020 - Cross posted on PTLA.org

What do I need to know?

  • Most schools in the state of Maine have shut down temporarily in response to the Covid-19 Outbreak.
  • The Maine Department of Education will likely announce in the near future any further decisions regarding school closings for the remainder of the year.
  • Most schools are offering remote learning opportunities for students.

What about learning for students with IEPs and/or 504 plans?

Schools are still required to ensure that students with IEPs or 504 plans access the same learning opportunities as their non-disabled peers. But, schools are not required to re-write the IEP or the 504 plan in light of the school closing.

What about IEP meetings and evaluations?

A parent can request an IEP meeting at any time, and school districts are required to respond within a reasonable amount of time. A parent can request an IEP meeting be held remotely via telephone or videoconference.

Evaluations are only required to be completed during times that the school is open, so evaluations will have to be postponed pending school re-opening.

  • The law requires schools to complete evaluations within 45 school days from the time a parent signs a consent to evaluate form.
  • You may consider reaching out to outside evaluators and placing yourself on a wait list as well, as most evaluators that specializes in psychological evaluations have wait lists.

What if my child is struggling at home to complete work?

If your child is struggling, you can request a meeting with your child’s special education case manager or the school 504 plan coordinator to discuss how your concerns can be addressed.

  • You can also request an official IEP meeting or 504 meeting to discuss what accommodations can be made to help your child with accessing their curriculum/ learning.
  • Put all requests and/or concerns/complaints in writing to the school and confirm receipt.

How do I ensure my child can access services on their IEP?

You can request a meeting and state for the record which services you want from your child’s IEP.

  • Ask about virtual learning opportunities to replace any direct instruction that was previously provided in writing via email and also verbally at a meeting.
  • Record the answer/response you receive from the school.
  • If the school has failed to provide services, you may have a potential compensatory education claim for when schools re-open.

Can I still request records for my child?

Yes, you can still request records from a Special education department. Make the request in writing and follow-up with them within a few days to confirm that they got your request.

Can I still file for due process while schools are closed?

Yes you can file due process as normal, however, all parties have to agree to remote proceedings. The school district may not agree- in which case, the due process hearings will have to be postponed or continued.

What can I do if I would like to assist my child or grandchild receive the best possible education while we are home?

This is difficult - but you can do it! Here are some steps you can take:

  • Review their IEP to get a better understanding of what your child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses are
  • Request IEP meeting to discuss how you can best engage your child in learning and what resources exist to provide additional assistance.
  • Reach out to your child’s teachers for additional assistance and resources
  • Access online library websites for opportunities to access online books.
  • Keep a journal of struggles you see while your child is learning at home, as well as what has been working well.
  • Keep a record of what services/instruction your child has received during this time.

State and Federal COVID-19 Guidance

This guidance is put out by the state and federal Department of Education (DOE), but is subject to change as the situation evolves. We will do our best to update information as needed.

Fact Sheets

Maine DOE Notice: Special Education & COVID-19 FAQ

U.S. DOE Q&A on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities during COVID-19

U.S. DOE Fact Sheet:Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools  While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students

U.S. DOE Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities

Resources & Up-to-Date Information

Additional resources from the U.S. DOE

Maine DOE Special Services COVID-19 Resources

Maine DOE COVID-19 Resource Page

Disability Rights Maine: COVID-19 Resources for People with Disabilities

U.S. DOE Webinar on Online Education & Website Accessibility: