Coronavirus Update - No Waiver of IDEA Rights

Great news! Last week, we learned that the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, will not seek changes to protections afforded by the IDEA. In responding to a request from Congress for recommendations on waivers to special education requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic, DeVos determined that a student’s access to FAPE (free appropriate public education) can continue with online learning, distance education or other at-home learning strategies. DeVos wrote that the US Department of Education “is not requesting waiver authority for any of the core tenets of the IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, most notably a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).” This is a huge relief to us, and I am sure to you as well. While Congress can still make changes of its own to the IDEA, a previous attempt during the CARES Act negotiations failed. While unlikely, we will update you if any changes are made by Congress. For additional questions about the impact of the Coronavirus on your specific case, or other inquiries, contact us at jennifer@ratclifflaw.org or 646-741-3030.

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