Fairfax County Schools Considers Flexible Special Education Plans

Special education students are at risk of losing their individualized education plans. At a board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Scott Braband and Assistant Superintendent Teresa Johnson discussed plans for remote instructional support in Virginia’s largest school district. Braband acknowledged that though the district will see through its obligation under federal disabilities law to provide children with an education, online learning is ultimately no substitute for in-person education.

Braband said, “If this crisis continues across our country, we’re going to have to think outside of the box of federal rules and regulations, and come up with something that even more fully realizes the support we need to give to kids.”

According to wtop.com, “In the meantime, FCPS is pressing forward with what Johnson referred to as a “flexible” temporary learning model that adheres to the district’s standard special education goals, despite some concessions on the types and frequencies of services provided to students. The plan — which avoids all contact between student and instructor, in keeping with social distancing — calls for most service providers, including language pathologists and occupational therapists, to teach in small groups and one-on-one sessions in virtual settings.”

As per wtop.com, “A presentation outlining the district’s current strategy said staff will be required to communicate with and assist parents or guardians of special needs students on implementing accommodations like closed captioning or interpretation, and collaborate with school-based technology teams and administrators on developing lesson plans or tackling problems that could arise. Johnson stressed that the plan would not play out identically to what families and students are used to in the classroom.”

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Maryam N. is a Senior Writer at Nesbitt Realty. She is an expert on Fairfax County. Maryam has also worked previously as a geologist. She is a foodie and enjoys cooking and exploring new restaurants.