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We keep you up to date on the latest developments in special education and disabilities rights at the local, state, and federal level.

BREAKING NEWS! Schools and families have more time to confer on missed COVID-19 services

Students who receive special education may be eligible for COVID-19 compensatory special education or therapeutic services from their school district. These services are available if a student did not make expected progress towards new knowledge or skills due to the shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With just days to go before a looming deadline for parents, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law S905/A1281. It requires school districts to hold an IEP meeting for every student no later than December 31, 2022, to discuss COVID-19 compensatory services. The IEP team must discuss special education classes and therapy missed while their schools were remote during the pandemic.  Additional special education and services that a student could receive include supplemental instruction, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, counseling, social skills groups, and more. What if parents disagree with the school district about the student’s needs? After that meeting, they may file for mediation or due process with the New Jersey Department of Education anytime before September 1, 2023.

This provides much-needed relief for school districts to take the time to thoroughly plan with families. It eliminates the need for families to make the difficult decision to enter legal proceedings before having the chance to confer with the school district. And it prevents a sudden rush of cases that may prove unnecessary from clogging the New Jersey special education mediation and due process system.

In 2021, New Jersey passed a law allowing IEP teams to agree that a student who turns 21 during the 2020-2021, 2021-2022, or 2022-2023 school year needs an additional year of services. That law and any requirements of that law are not impacted by this new legislation.

If you do not agree with the school district’s proposal for your child, or your school district has not scheduled the required meeting by the fall of 2022, the attorneys at Reisman Carolla Gran & Zuba LLP are available to discuss your options and help you decide how to proceed.