Communication, covid-19

Summer 2020?

As the school year begins to wind down, there have been so many questions about summer services: summer school, extended year special ed services (ESY), and compensatory services.

  • Will we be having summer school in the building, on-line, or skipping it all together?
  • How are ESY services to be provided this summer, and should they be done in June or wait until August?
  • What is the difference between ESY and compensatory services?

I have been in so many meetings with the department of ed special ed staff, school district administrators, and organizations for special education administrators. The consistent answer I have heard across the board is “we don’t know.”

In Texas, guidance is provided by the governor’s office about whether faculty and students are allowed in school buildings, so that will answer the question of whether services will be happening on campus as we get closer to June. Decisions such as whether or not to have summer school are left up to individual districts to decide. Specifics about how to deliver ESY and compensatory services will be influenced by the governor’s decision, but there are additional guidelines to consider for those.

Extended School Year Services

IDEA §300.106 addresses extended school year services. Extended school year services must be provided only if a child’s IEP Team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with §§300.320 through 300.324, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.

IDEA doesn’t provide guidance on how to determine if ESY services are needed, just that they must be made available if the IEP committees decides that ESY is necessary for FAPE. The most common reasons that an IEP committee may determine the need for ESY include regression and recoupment, or whether critical skills will be lost during this break from school and whether the time to re-learn the skills is excessive. IEP committees may also consider other needs, including but not limited to students’ recently acquired skills, behaviors, and communication needs, as reasons to determine the need for ESY.

The decision for ESY should be based on data, which may include information from formal or informal measures. While documentation of previous years’ regression and recoupment is often used as the criteria for consideration, informal observations of how a student does after a long weekend can provide lots of information to be considered.

ESY services are not the same as summer school or enrichment programs. Students with disabilities may participate in summer school and enrichment activities even if the IEP committee has determined that ESY is not necessary. Accommodations must still be implemented during those activities.

Compensatory Services

Compensatory services are different from ESY in that they are provided to compensate for services that were supposed to be provided but weren’t. Because of COVID-19, services for students with disabilities have looked different than what is in the IEPs, and there are some services that could not be provided through distance education. The US Department of Education provided some information that addresses the consideration for compensatory services.

Upon return to normal school operations, each IEP team for students with an IEP must review the provision of FAPE during the period of distance learning, to determine whether compensatory services are warranted in any service area, including instruction and/or any individual therapies. (OSERS March 2020).

So What Does This All Mean?

Each student’s IEP team will have to determine whether there is a need for ESY, compensatory services, or both. The decision about the need for ESY services can be made now. The determination about compensatory services won’t be made until school returns to normal.

Clear as mud?!

Communication, Membership

CEC Legislative Action Center

Did you know that CEC has a Legislative Action Center (LAC) Website?

On CEC’s Legislative Action Center, you can:

  • “Take Action” on a number of legislative issues critical to the advancement of policies and opportunities for children and youth with exceptionalities and the professionals who work on their behalf by filling out your information and sending a letter to your Members of Congress
  • Find information about your elected officials with ease by simply typing in your zip code
  • Explore the Issue Pages to learn more in depth information on specific topics featured on the Legislative Action Center
Communication, Membership

CEC Response to New Guidance

CEC has posted a response to the new U.S. Department of Education guidance affirming student’s rights under federal special education law.

“CEC is pleased to see that the U.S. Department of Education continues to be responsive to the needs of educators, students, and families,” says Chad Rummel, CEC Executive Director. “Together, we are committed to continue working with the Department of Education and all of our members to succeed in these uncharted times and provide support to the students who rely on us each and every day.”

Communication, Membership

Updated OSEP guidance

This morning OSEP and OCR posted some additional guidance. “Supplemental Fact Sheet” Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities.” This is an important document, and please take the time to read it thoroughly and discuss it with your educational team.

A few quotes that should be considered when discussing services for our students:

U.S. Department of Education (Department) does not want to stand in the way of good faith efforts to educate students on-line.

To be clear: ensuring compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), † Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act should not prevent any school from offering educational programs through distance instruction.

In this unique and ever-changing environment, OCR and OSERS recognize that these exceptional circumstances may affect how all educational and related services and supports are provided, and the Department will offer flexibility where possible.

It is important to emphasize that federal disability law allows for flexibility in determining how to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities. The determination of how FAPE is to be provided may need to be different in this time of unprecedented national emergency.

The Department encourages parents, educators, and administrators to collaborate creatively to continue to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

join cec for free code CECED60
Communication, Membership

Free CEC Membership through May


CEC is opening its doors to the special education community in need of resources. Nonmembers of CEC can receive a free basic membership from now through May 31 by using the promotional code “CECED60”. This will give you access to all of our journal articles, member discounts on publications and events, and our online membership community where you can ask questions and receive support from special educators, administrators and support personnel. Join Now!


Distance learning for TODHH due to COVID-19

The last several days have been a whirlwind of gathering and sharing resources! We have been sharing them on our Facebook page: and will add them to the website as well.

We’ve created a document with a few tips on working remotely with students who are deaf or hard of hearing. More resources are available in the Virtual Activities livebinder.