On April 3, 2020, the Center submitted a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos urging the Secretary against issuing any waivers under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
In the letter, the Center argued that while the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge, this is not the time to eliminate or reduce, even temporarily, any statutory requirements of either the IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehab Act.
Instead of requesting waiver authority, we believe that the Department of Education can and should continue to help states and local education agencies (LEA) understand that school teams and parents can work together during the crisis to make decisions together about the provision of special education services and supports as allowed within their unique and individual circumstances.
Additionally, the Center recommended that the Department of Education provide enhanced and focused technical assistance through all available avenues, including through the “Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools” program (ESSA Title IV Part C). The Center is also advocating for Congress to address the obvious need for additional funding to support innovative approaches to educating all students, including students with disabilities.