Call for timeline and special education services IDEA waiver during pandemic
May 2, 2020


Whereas, COVID-19 is a global pandemic that is impacting the world to a degree we have not seen in a lifetime. We are experiencing extremely unusual and unexpected circumstances that negatively affect all aspects of teaching and learning, work and life;

Whereas, the economic impact of COVID-19 has surpassed the economic recession of 2008 and may become as significant as the Great Depression;

Whereas, the current unemployment rate has already surpassed 30 million applicants and is steadily increasing;

Whereas, additional funding is needed to prevent cuts to staff, furloughs, increased class sizes and caseloads, all adversely impacting services to children;

Whereas, the long-term lack of federal funding for special education is a perpetual barrier to meeting the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) mandate;

Whereas, significant numbers of students lack online access and experience equity issues and/or have extenuating circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing them from participating in distance learning opportunities;

Whereas, districts, educators and service providers are putting forth their best faith efforts across the country, for example, utilizing certificated teachers without a student caseload  to continue to participate and support in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, implement services and instruction to the degree and amount possible during distance learning;

Whereas, the federal government has allowed waivers for assessment timelines but not for individual educational plan meeting timelines;

Whereas, annual, triennial, and initial IEP meetings all require in-person testing measures of students’ goals, which are currently impossible to do accurately.

Whereas, access and equity issues may limit the ability of parents, families, teachers and staff to participate in online IEP meetings; 

Therefore be it resolved, that school districts be held harmless for postponed or overdue IEP timelines, loss of instruction and services occurring as a result of COVID-19 school closures and be given 90 days to complete the IEPs upon return to a regularly scheduled school day;

Therefore be it further resolved, that services provided upon return to a regular school environment and schedule continue to be offered to the same degree that remediation is offered to all students. Schools should not be held responsible for providing compensatory services related to school closures;

Therefore be it further resolved, that AFT push for the funding needed to prevent cuts to staff, furloughs, increased class sizes and caseloads, all adversely impacting services to children;

Therefore be it further resolved, that a responsible waiver of 90 days for fulfilling IDEA requirements be granted on all IEPs. 

Therefore be it finally resolved, to send this resolution to the AFT Convention.