Updates from Access Living: Disability and Education during Covid-19


May 7, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Disability and Education during Covid-19

Senate Letter, Native American Rights, Chicago Update

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Our message today is focused on education for students with disabilities, nationally and locally. Read on.

U.S. Senators Issue Letter on Support for Students with Disabilities: U.S. Senators Durbin and Duckworth of Illinois, as well as Senator Hassan of New Hampshire and 22 other U.S. Senators, published a letter today urging their Senate colleagues to ensure that students with disabilities will receive supports during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their letter focuses on ensuring protections under the Individuals with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and making sure funding goes towards needed services.

Help Support Education for Native American Students with Disabilities: Native American families and advocates are also fighting for supports for students with disabilities, some of whom attend tribal schools. Do you know whether your state has tribal schools? Check out this link to learn more. The Native American Disability Law Center, based in New Mexico, is also an important resource to answer questions about disability rights protections for Native Americans during Covid-19. Be sure to share their website with people who need to know.

Chicago Special Education Update: Now that schools are deep into remote learning, families of students with disabilities may be wondering what Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is offering to support our students. We are aware that CPS is planning to provide a remote learning plan for students with disabilities:

  • A remote learning plan will outline goals, accommodations, and supports comparable to the student’s IEP within the context of remote learning.
  • Service minutes will be adjusted based on the shortened remote learning school days and different accommodations may be considered and documented with the plan.
  • All CPS related service providers (e.g., social workers and speech therapists) are allowed to provide 1:1 support for students through digital platforms.

Here are links to important info for families of students with disabilities, which are also located on the Access Living Covid-19 Resource Page:

We hope all of our students and their families stay safe and well during this unprecedented time. AL will diligently work to ensure our students receive the support they need during the school closures. If you have any questions, please contact our education policy analyst, Chris Yun, at cyun@accessliving.org.

Please forward this info to families and advocates who would benefit. Thank you!