The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the everyday lives of people all over the country. This includes school districts and the future of in-person learning. With the start date of school openings in Pennsylvania less than six weeks away, many are facing the reality of what this means and what schooling will look like. While reopening schools will be challenging for people across the state, Attorney Fennick stresses challenges that families who have children with disabilities will face.
Students who have disabilities can sometimes require extra assistance over the course of their education. Oftentimes, this includes one on one attention and certain resources. Over the course of continued learning at home, some Pennsylvania school districts have shown to not be able to provide the correct services for special needs students during this time. In fact, a class action suit was filed against Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in federal court regarding the matter. It is important to note that Attorney Fennick is not the lawyer on this case.
As schools look towards reopening and securing the safety of their students, Attorney Fennick is working with families who are concerned their children will not receive the proper education they are entitled to. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Attorney Fennick stated, “The federal law says children are entitled to that. So the districts have to provide that, and the districts get money from the federal government to do that.”
While Attorney Fennick believes more guidance should be issued from the federal government, others argue that it is a state issue. This brings the question of what the best solution will be when moving forward with the opening of school districts this fall. According to Fennick, there are no easy answers. He stated, “…schools right now cannot physically accommodate all of the children and keep everybody safe. But as long as this disease is around, this is going to be a real problem.”
As of now, schools throughout Pennsylvania are working on proposals to come up with their own plans regarding in-person learning and how they will work to accommodate the needs of all students, including those with special needs. Continue checking back here to stay updated regarding the matters of special education within the Pennsylvania education system as months go on.
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Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.