As we approach the deadline for school districts to present their plans to re-open schools, and with parents given the choice of whether or not to send their children to school, and with a bill about to be proposed which would prevent most in-person education, we wanted to provide you with the details you need to know in order to plan what is best for your family. That said, what follows is accurate as of the posting of this blog, but will certainly change over the coming days and weeks.
As we reported a few weeks ago, on June 26, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education released a roadmap for the restart and recovery of in-person education. The link to that blog post is here.
Since then, Governor Murphy has announced that parents may opt not to send their children to school. Meanwhile, as parents and school districts are wrestling with options, a bill has been drafted (but not yet proposed) which would keep most students home through at least October 31, 2020. It is our understanding that special education and related services would be delivered in person. This bill would also permit Districts to delay the opening of school for two weeks to train educators on virtual instruction.
In summary, the opening of school, and what it will look like, is a moving target, with things changing almost daily. We encourage all parents to be in close contact with their child’s case manager to discuss how your district’s plan may impact your child and his or her ability to receive a free appropriate public education. There is no blanket way districts are implementing the new guidelines regarding reopening so it is best to be proactive and advocate for reasonable accommodations that will enable your child to be educated to the greatest extent possible with his or her peers.