504 & IEP Student Rights During a Covid School Year

Our students with IEPs and 504 plans are entitled to receive services and accommodations during distance learning. They are absolutely entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Parents have a right to ask their school for a plan to provide general and special education services. If your school doesn’t have a plan for student access to education, services, and student accommodations, parents can contact their school superintendent and state department of education

For parents who have questions regarding the continuation of their child’s IEP & 504 services, the following document from the U.S. Department of Education might be helpful. It is dated March 2020 and is intended to serve as a guideline during the pandemic.


Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak. March 2020 (PDF)

(Partial Excerpt) Abbreviations: SEA (state education agency = state department of education) & LEA (local education agency = your public school district.)

If an LEA continues to provide educational opportunities to the general student population during a school closure, the school must ensure that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities, including the provision of FAPE. (34 CFR §§ 104.4, 104.33 (Section 504) and 28 CFR § 35.130 (Title II of the ADA)). SEAs, LEAs, and schools must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP developed under IDEA, or a plan developed under Section 504. (34 CFR §§ 300.101 and 300.201 (IDEA), and 34 CFR § 104.33 (Section 504))

Parent Options for Obtaining FAPE 504 & IEP Services:

Call an IEP meeting to seek resolution with the team.

Collaborate with the IEP team, keeping your child’s best interests as your goal.

Understand and know how to communicate your child’s learning, behavioral, thinking differences, and needs. Write down your goals for the meeting, main points, and questions before the IEP meeting.

During the meeting, try to determine what the school is interested in doing and what their available staff is trained to offer.

If the IEP team is unable to come to an agreement, there are a series of options available to parents, beginning with mediation.

Visit www.understood.org for information on what services your public school is supposed to provide in, “What Is and Isn’t Covered by FAPE.”


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