Indiana Distance Learning: What to Know, Part 1

July 29, 2020 | Disability Legal Services of Indiana

Indiana schools are starting the 2020-2021 school year as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Yet for many families with a child in special education, distance learning didn’t go well last spring. Schools struggled to meet the individualized needs of children with disabilities after having quickly shifted to distance learning in March.

Schools have had the summer months to develop better distance learning processes to meet the unique learning needs of students with disabilities. Whether your child is starting in-person or via distance learning, we have essential information on how to make this school year better for your child with a disability.

Does your child’s IEP or Section 504 Plan addresses a plan for distance learning. If it doesn’t, request a case conference committee (CCC) meeting to add such a plan.

Discuss these important distance-learning issues at your child’s CCC meeting:
  • How will your child access the curriculum?
  • How will your child access technology?
  • How will your child receive related services?
  • How will your child’s physical needs be met?
  • How will your child’s communication needs be met?
  • How will your child’s additional unique needs be met?
  • What is the plan for teacher/parent communication?
  • Where will the above information be noted in your child’s IEP?
  • If learning packets will be utilized, how are they individualized to your child and not the same for every student?
  • For more information about the above considerations, see: eLearning Day Program Guidance for Students with Disabilities
  • How will your child’s accommodations be provided during distance learning?
  • Students’ accommodations must be individualized for their specific needs, but here are great examples of how common accommodations can be provided during distance learning: Continuous Learning and Accommodations (Google sign-in may be required to view document.)
  • Even if your child’s school is starting in-person, make sure his/her IEP or Section 504 Plan addresses these issues. At any point, your child’s school may have to shift to distance learning.

Finally, a reminder of information we shared previously in DLSI’s Parents in the Know.
  • No matter what format a public school utilizes for classes (in-person, eLearning, online, hybrid, student packets, etc.), schools must still provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with a disability.
  • In addition, schools must follow individualized education programs (IEPs) and Section 504 Plans. (See previous Parents in the Know posts on our website for additional information: disabilitylegalservicesindiana.org )
If you have education-related questions or concerns regarding your child with a disability, feel free to contact us via phone: 317-426-7733, or via our website: DLSI, or complete an application for assistance online at: DLSI Application for Services.

The statements contained herein are provided for informational purposes, are not to be considered legal advice, and should not be construed to form an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact an education attorney.