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New U.S. Department of Education Guidance: Dispute Resolution During COVID-19

On June 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) issued new guidance regarding dispute resolution in special education in the current COVID-19 environment.  This guidance does not create any additional requirements outside of the law.  Rather, it provides an interpretation of existing law in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This guidance was issued in two parts, one applying to …

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Breaking news from LAUSD

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has issued a Prior Written Notice explaining its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its distance learning program. On March 16, 2020, LAUSD closed its schools due to COVID-19.  On April 13, 2020, LAUSD extended its school closures through June 12, 2020, the end of the 2019-2020 school year.  In the meantime, students will receive …

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A Report Back from A Conversation State Director of Special Education, California Department of Education

On May 4, 2020, Associate Attorney, Alex Rodriguez tuned into a conversation with Kristin Wright, State Director of Special Education at California Department of Education (“CDE”). This report back is a summary of the call, and does not represent legal advice. Ms. Wright stated that parents with special needs children, who are struggling during the pandemic to get the appropriate …

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Mental Health During COVID-19

Dealing with the drastic lifestyle changes caused by COVID-19 can be very stressful for both parents and students. In light of these changes, it is especially important that we protect our mental health and that of those around us. Parents may find our new normal overwhelming, having to now take on the role of being schoolteachers and counselors, especially as …

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Governor Newsom Discusses Outline to Reopen Schools

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom gave an address that outlined a plan to reopen California. On the four phases of reopening, California’s schools fall into the “Phase Two,” category of re-opening. He also mentioned opening some school districts as early as July or August in order to remediate learning that has been lost during this time. These early reopenings will likely …

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Department of Education Report: No Waivers to Students’ Rights

On April 27, 2020, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos submitted her report concerning waivers to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”). DeVos and the Department of Education (“Department”)  are not requesting waivers that would impact a student’s right to receive a free and appropriate public education in the least …

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Distance Learning Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities

With the statewide school closure being extended through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, many parents are looking for extra resources to supplement the distance learning programming provided by their school districts.  We at the Law Offices of Hirji & Chau want to help direct parents toward free, online resources that they can access during the school closures. We …

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Reimbursement for Privately Funded Services

The current school closures due to COVID-19 have left several families of children in special education wondering what options they have for ensuring that their child does not fall behind or regress in their academics or skills. Some families are wondering whether they may be entitled to reimbursement if they privately fund additional services, such as tutoring, or language and …