While all students may be impacted by the COVID19 school closures, students with disabilities require increased focus on addressing their unique, individualized needs and the law supports them. MiPAAC wants to ensure that a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is preserved during this time.
The MiPAAC contends that districts should take proactive, interventional, and collaborative approaches in partnering with families at all times, but especially during this unique and challenging time for all.
Contingency Learning Plans (CLPs) are recommended by the Michigan Department of Education for students with IEPs for certain triggering events. The MiPAAC asserts that CLPs do not take the place of a district or school’s offer of FAPE, and should be utilized only as a means for clarifying how FAPE will be delivered when in-person instruction is not possible. These triggering events, as outlined by the MDE, include the following situations:
- the district is placed in a phase I, II or III either by a statewide executive order or community decision,
- the district chooses a remote mode of instruction during phase IV, V, or VI,
- the district chooses a hybrid model of instruction during phase IV, V, or VI,
- a parent chooses to keep the student home due to health and safety issues,
- a student has an illness due to COVID-19, or
- a household member is quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
MiPAAC does not support the use of CLPs for every student with an IEP, claiming that each student has unique needs, programs and services, which may or may not warrant a CLP.
Lastly, MiPAAC contends that all CLPs should be written in collaboration with the parent or guardian of the student with an IEP, and should be referenced in the supplementary aides section of the student’s IEP. An amendment to the IEP may be necessary to include the CLP.