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If a school continues to provide instruction to the general school population during an extended closure due to a disaster... The ARD committee may meet... to determine if some, or all, of the identified [special education] services can be provided through alternate or additional methods. Once the school reopens, the ARD committee must determine whether, and to what extent, compensatory services are needed.7

ing drive-through home visits. We are unbelievably thankful for those educators who refused to allow students in need of additional support to fall through the cracks during the last year. Unfortunately, there were also families who were being left behind.9 Students receiving special education services require specially designed instruction, varying levels of support, accommodations, and serFor students vices to succeed in the general education curEssentially, TEA asked schools to provide serwith disabilities riculum and make progress per their IEP. Yet, it was not uncommon during the pandemic to vices where they could and then assess the damand their parents, see families dealing with schools that failed to age when kids returned to school in person. While public schools in Texas struggled to meet however, the assess a child’s individual needs, a practice the law requires of the ARD Committee. Some disIDEA requirements before the pandemic,8 during new day-to-day tricts refused to hold an ARD meeting at all, the shutdown, things intensified. Texas public schools were not ready to move efficiently to onmeant more denying parent requests for Zoom meetings to address student regression. Districts often atline learning. than closed tempted to use a “one size fits all” school-wide School Districts’ Initial Responses classrooms and program and failed to offer individualized instruction, appropriate supports, or necessary Families of students with disabilities expected virtual lessons.” services for children with disabilities. some hiccups and growing pains, but far too District response plans were, in fact, as varmany faced schools that were either unwilling or ied as school mascots. Some districts offered remote learning unable to serve their children. There were responsive, supthrough Zoom or Google Classroom; others provided hardportive districts that handed out computers and meals to stucopy packets stuffed with ditto sheets. There were even disdents, and there were also districts where teachers made it a tricts that had no plan at all. Zoom classes work great for point to routinely check in on children, with some even mak-

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thehoustonlawyer.com

May/June 2021

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