September 22, 2020 | Rhonda Logsdon; Stella Beard

Rhonda: Welcome, thank you all for joining us today. We’re going to be you talking about on our Tuesday Tips webinar today, the Remote Learning with  Students with IEPs, some tips to kind of go over, but then also with the school re-entry what that’s gonna look like. And kind of step through the different guidance that’s been provided throughout this.

[00:00:24] I’ll just do ...

Rhonda: Welcome, thank you all for joining us today. We’re going to be you talking about on our Tuesday Tips webinar today, the Remote Learning with  Students with IEPs, some tips to kind of go over, but then also with the school re-entry what that’s gonna look like. And kind of step through the different guidance that’s been provided throughout this.

[00:00:24] I’ll just do a couple of housekeeping things here to begin,  I’m Rhonda Logsdon with Kentucky SPIN, and I’m very pleased that I’ve got Stella Beard with Kentucky SPIN as well on here. And what we’re going to do is we will stop throughout to check-in, to see if there are any questions. You can type in the chat box, there’s a questions area as well. So any questions you have, we will also have time for questions at the end as well. But we’ll check in with Stella throughout, this just to kind of see if there were some things or questions that arise that you all have.

[00:01:04] Also you’ll notice if there is a handout section, but don’t be worried if you don’t see it, because I know some people on their dashboard with it are not finding it. So not to worry this PowerPoint and the other two handouts that’s in the handout section will also be emailed to you later today, if you don’t have time to download them, or if you don’t see it on your dashboard, not to worry. We will follow up with that email with you all.

[00:01:35] And so just to kind of explain a little bit about us, Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network, we’re the parent training and information project for the state of Kentucky and have been since 1988, since Kentucky first received one. The work that we do helping families and we’re families or individuals with disabilities helping one another. We are not attorneys. We do not represent families. Our goal is to help so that everyone involved, whether you’re a parent, a person with a disability or we have a lot of school staff and other professionals that join us as well, understand the process. But not only that, but to build those partnerships and really to help step through things. So know that we are here.

[00:02:30] This is one of many of the webinars that we’ve been rolling out, especially due to COVID, we had to go all virtually with all of our trainings, hopefully before too long things will get better to where we’re able to do them in-person throughout the State. But we are statewide and we are a nonprofit agency and we’re here to help you, to help your family.

[00:02:55] So, we’re going to kind of jump right on in. And I always like to start this out, and if you saw some of the others you’re probably tired of seeing this slide, but I always want to remind ourselves when we’re talking about the IEPs and COVID and everything it’s very important to always remember that the federal laws, IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is what calls for IEP in school, section 504, if your child has a 504 plan or children who have IEPs are also covered under 504 and ADA. None of those laws changed. The thing is though none of them set into place, any guidelines or what you would do in case of a pandemic, because we’ve never experienced this before. But so didn’t mind the laws didn’t change, we’ve all been having to adapt to still provide the same things that are to be provided but through alternate means. But I always just want to cover that because there are some misconceptions that because we are in a pandemic that these things don’t apply and they do. We just all have to work together to see how we can best provide those in an alternate format so that everybody keeps safe given the state of emergency.

[00:04:25] Another thing too, and we have been very fortunate this states here, and again this is another one that I always liked to come back to that, and this was guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, but then we’ve also had and you will see links at the end, and stuff that we refer to throughout, we are very fortunate that Kentucky Department of Education has issued a great deal of guidance. Not just for children with disabilities, but in general, stepping through all aspects of education. And they have been very deliberate and I’m very thankful for that they have always considered through all of the guidance special populations, which would include our children who have disabilities.

[00:05:15] And anytime you see SEA the state education agency that is Kentucky Department of Education, KDE. LEAs in Kentucky would be your local education agency, which in Kentucky we have County and independent public school districts. So that would be your LEA. So in other words, what this is saying is you still have to provide the special education and related services for students identified with an IEP. You still have to provide those services and supports and what is listed in the IEP to the greatest extent possible. Again, it may look a little different. But I think it’s always great to start things off by stating that, along with, you know, that the laws had not changed even though we are in the pandemic.

[00:06:11] As many as [sniffles] excuse me, my allergies, as many of you all know that we were, schools were planning to go back again with COVID,  things seem to change daily and we’ve all been to having to adapt very quickly and day to day. So where we’re at right now, because what had occurred is the governor had recommended that none of the districts go back to in-person classes until after September 28th. That was with stated on August the tenth. So the majority of all schools abided by that guidance, that was issued. There were a few that didn’t, but. So that’s kind of where right now, not that they would not start back to school. But everyone would start back, if they followed the recommendation from the governor, they would start back on the alternate, the virtual learning and the alternate location, which would be at home.

[00:07:18] So I just want to kind of cover that because then later on, because right now the majority, unless you were in those few districts that didn’t, everybody is on the remote learning right now. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to step through, because we’re going to explain a little more in detail about when the re-entry and going back. But even when you go back, there may be some days that you’re doing remote learning in the alternate location, or if you were able to decide based on what the options were your school district did, some families may choose to continue the remote learning in the alternate locations. The thing to keep in mind here, as we’re going to step through this, these are tips that regardless of where you’re at, if it’s a choice or if it’s the outbreak, that we’ll talk about a little more, the recent guidance about the school re-entry that even though you were in this, the IEP still has to be implemented. Again, it’s, I’m going to look a little different, but the goals, objectives, related services, accommodations, all of those are still to be delivered to the greatest extent possible through alternate means.

[00:08:43] And it’s very key here, and you’re going to hear me say several times throughout this, as we’re given tips on this, that it is not the sole responsibility of the parent to provide all of this. Again, we are as a family, more involved given the nature of this because our children are having to do school from home. But certainly that does not mean then all the responsibility falls on the parent to provide all of these. And we’re going to kind of step through some of that.

[00:09:17] And again, any way you can alter it. Now again, this is just like our lives, and I know as a family myself, our daily lives, even regardless of COVID, we are very adaptable because if your family is anything like mine, you know you have the best laid plans, but most times you have to adapt with how things go when you get up that morning. So, you know, those type of things, and because with the pandemic, things are changing so much, we have to adapt how these services are going to be provided.

[00:09:59] Number one, tip is communication. And people are probably tired of hearing me say that as well. But even regardless of COVID having good communication with one another with the school, the school with the parents is critical for our children to be successful. Does that mean that we agree a hundred percent of the time? No. That never happens, nothing in life, whether, if it’s a parent working with the school, the school working with the parent, if it is in your work place, if it is with your family, nobody agrees all the time. But we still do have to work together.

[00:10:41] The thing that’s going to be important is having that open communication, not only to know what the plans are for the school and how things are going to roll out as we try to get things back to, I don’t know that we could say normal given the way things are, but as we’re trying to make these moves back and things are changes not only to communicate and find out from the school where we’re at on it and what your district’s doing. But then also for our children who have IEPs, adapting that, depending upon how the delivery is going to be. It’s going to be important to know the who, what, when and where. And looking at each section of the IEP, and what is the game plan? What are we going to do if they are learning from home, the remote learning? What are we going to do if they are and how is it going to be implemented? And who’s going to implement it, if we’re on a split schedule? To where a couple of days they may go to school, when they’re able to go back to some in-person the other half of the week, they are doing the work from home, virtually. And so really coming up with those plans. And what supports are gonna be needed to deliver that regardless of the location? That’s the critical part here.

[00:12:05] And if I could just suggest as well, if you haven’t been receiving communication, reach out, call the school, find out what is going on, request to talk with the teachers, you know. But then also it might be important for you all to have an IEP or ARC team meeting, admissions, release committee meeting, to really lay the plans out for everything because we need to know, you know, I always think of who’s on first, right? We need to know who’s on first, who’s on second, who’s on third. Right? So we need to know so that we can all, because we are all critical members of the IEP team and critical for our children to be successful, we need to know who’s going to do what, when and where and how.

[00:12:57] And again, all of that doesn’t fall on the parent when you are in the alternate location, which I also want to side note, because I have received questions about this several times and I’ve explained it on many of the webinars too, is that when children are remote learning, which is the change of location that is not a change of placement in the IEP. All children are on a change of location. So just keep that in mind, that’s not a change of placement for a child who has an IEP.

[00:13:35] But really developing that communication, sending emails, phone calls. Really trying to work together to develop this. And a lot of times too I’m seeing, and especially for parents and for students who are in middle or high school, they have multiple teachers for the different subjects, so you may find that you are getting more communication or, you know, you may have contacted and talked more with one teacher than the other, ensuring that there is that consistency. And we have everybody’s on the same page to know how to implement these things for all of the areas, and all subject matters is going to be critical for them to be successful as a whole.

[00:14:27] Let’s pause just a moment and see if there are any questions so far.

[00:14:31] Stella: I don’t see any questions right now, but just to reminder to everyone, feel free to type your questions in that question box, and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.

[00:14:49] Rhonda: Thank you so much Stella. So when we’re talking about the specially designed instruction, that’ll be in your child’s IEP. Related services, accommodations and modifications, those have to be applied to the remote learning settings. Again, it may look a little different, but making sure that if it’s, I’ll use the example of modification to the schoolwork. The schoolwork should still be being modified, based on your child’s needs and what is in their IEP. So, and making sure, and especially I can, you know, an example of if it’s a middle school student, making sure that the different assignments, if they are to be modified, it’s not just what is going for all of the students, regardless of if they have a disability or not. Ensuring, first of all, that you do have that work, that you have, what you need. But then also that work that has been provided that your child will be doing remote learning from home has then been modified based on what their IEP says.

[00:16:04] And that is a very critical point because — and then also accommodations and some of it may be that you as the parent or whoever is helping the child with the work at home, will have these different accommodations modifications. It may be a, some of the accommodations are ones that you would just automatically implement. But making sure that you all discuss that as a team, so that you’d know how to do it and when, and if there are certain things that you need to adapt. But also having the tools that you need to be able to do that.

[00:16:46] Now, again, it’s not just the parent who is going to be doing that. A lot of it when we’re looking at the remote learning is that I can think of some examples if your child is used to receiving from the resource teacher, the special education teacher, some one-on-one help, or if there is an aid that helps them at school with certain things, you can still do it, but you have to adapt to the remote learning. Right. So depending upon the situation, it might be able to be through a phone call that assistance if you don’t have the internet, or through Facetime, Zoom meeting. So getting that same assistance. And again, it’s not just the parent providing all of those services, it is working out that schedule so that school staff are able to provide that.

[00:17:50] They’re only providing it in an alternate format. It may be through the internet. I know a lot of the districts have provided, and depending upon if you did not have access to technology, you may be able, and one of the things too that this goes back to the communication, calling the school if you do not have a computer for them to do, many have had Chromebooks so that the children can participate, whatever program that they’re using for the classroom, that they can participate there. Some districts also, for families who don’t have internet, have provided, they’re sort of like I call them, I’m old school, I call them a jump drive, but to where it gives internet access. Even if it’s not that if it is actually paper copies of stuff. Again, it depends on what your district has been able to provide, given the resources that they have available, not only for children with disabilities, but all children so that they have access to education. Finding out what’s available, and speaking with them about what it is that you need for them to be able to do it.

[00:19:06] Now, some children do not do well through the virtual and on the computer. It may not even be an issue of do we have access to the internet or to technology, that may not be a means that they are successful using. So that again is where we go back, because each child’s IEP, regardless of the disability category or anything, all children are different. And we’re having to adapt this not only based on their needs and what works for them. But then on top of that adapted to the remote learning setting.

[00:19:45] So again, it’s going to look very different and I do get a lot of questions and a lot of us do is the, what can be done, what can’t. So here is the thing, and even going back prior to COVID, the whole idea of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, and the IEPs, Individualized Education Program, is if the IEP team decides this is what is appropriate and what the child needs to be a successful when it’s in the IEP is to be provided. There is no list of you can or cannot get this.

[00:20:22] Because again, it allows the freedom because every child is different, and what works for one child is not going to necessarily work for the other. So really looking at how are these services being provided? And ensuring that all through the IEP, and a huge suggestion I’d like to add too, if you don’t have a current copy of your child’s IEP, request that immediately. So that you can get that in step through that. Again, you want to develop a plan with the school, the who, what, when, where. And how it’s going to be done and actually what supports you need.

[00:21:04] We are very proud people and you know, we try to do our best in there, but what’s important too, is that we communicate with the school. It’s not a reflection on us, you know, as a parent. And you to tell them what you need help with, as well as everybody being open to one another and suggestions. The school telling you, you know, what’s going to help here is having these conversations with the communication and tell them what you’re struggling with and what you need help with to be able to help your child.

[00:21:41] Because, you know, an example of like related services. A related services could be listed on a child’s IEP, a parent being trained to be able to do certain things and to help their child. So just keep in mind that those options are there. And the more that we have that open communication.

[00:22:04] And again, all of these, none of this change with the law. I know I keep going back to that. So these things have to be provided through the alternate means. Some things very easy to be able to provide. Some you know it takes a little more time to figure it out. And if your family is like ours, most of the time, the things that I’ve learned in my life, is I’ve done them wrong the first time. You know, so you learn as you go. So there’s nothing wrong with, if you try one thing, it doesn’t work, then we’ll try something different. And having that open communication and everybody communicating with one another, you’re going to be able to tell those different things and when you should shift to try a different strategy.

[00:22:52] So that contingency plans and wanted to make sure that we brought that up and I want to make, in this, I knew I skipped one there. Sorry guys. The reason I want to bring up contingency plans is because then in one of the Kentucky Department of Education, KDE’s, guidance document is that it’s stated, you know, in the questions and answers area is should the ARC, the IEP team, develop a contingency plan? And really especially, what this is going to be is a plan of what and how, it’s the, who, what, when and where it’s going to occur when you have to be in the distance learning.

[00:23:35] So even if you’re in the distance learning right now, the alternate location and you don’t have a contingency plan, don’t worry, but you could still develop one. And this will be crucial because as we’re going to talk more here in a minute about the school re-entry, you know, getting a plan in place it’s never too late. So we need to have these conversations so that we get these things into place to help our children.

[00:24:04] Now on the contingency plan again we are working towards and going to be moving towards children trying to get back at least in part in-person. But if things were to change tomorrow, which we’re going to talk about in the upcoming guidance that districts are going to use to determine if they should all be in-person or not. Even if we get back to that is that at any point we know with this pandemic, things are changing hourly, daily. So we need to —  it’s critical to develop this, not only to where it can be implemented and everybody’s on the same page now. But then also this would be a plan that you would immediately, if you get back to where you’re in-person, you could put into place if it goes back to where it’s completely the remote learning or partial remote learning. This plan would still serve a purpose because it could be implemented. And we know as we are finding out with this pandemic, things are changing so much that tomorrow is going to look very different and we may take a turn and then, you know, plan on everybody going back to school, but we may have to put a halt to it.

[00:25:24] So this contingency plan could be very critical again. Not trying to sound annoying here by repeating the who, what, when, where and how. Is making sure it’s a very detailed, everybody understands the plan. Everybody understands their role and making sure everybody involved, not just the parents, but the teachers, the staff, the assistants that are working with their child. Everyone has the resources that they need to be able to implement the plan. And that’s critical.

[00:25:56] So we can’t just come up with the plan. We’ve also got to make sure that we have adequate resources. That it can be delivered so that everybody has what they need regardless of who they are. So before we jump right into this, let’s pause for a moment and check in with Stella.

[00:26:18] Stella: Hey, Rhonda, I do have a question from someone it’s actually specifically for visually impaired students. And the question is, if the ARC has approved a training, which is the one she’s asking about is called white cane training. Would that be something the parent could do or would it have to be presented by a mobility therapist?

[00:26:48] And I’m not sure if we know that answer if you know that answer, but of course, you know, we can find out, but I guess what she’s saying is the ARC approved this training, but who would need to provide it? Would that be something the parent would do or would it have to be something that, that mobility therapist would have to do?

[00:27:08] Rhonda: And I guess, also, and that’s a great question. I’m assuming that this would be training that the child would be receiving. And what I would say on that is that, if it is something that requires a specialist to be certified on, regardless of what training it is, or for what disability, if the criteria, it has to be a certified person that provides it, then it would probably need to be that certified person. Now, some things too that it may not require that, and it may be that the parents could be trained and be able to deliver it.

[00:27:56] It’s all going to depend on the standard that’s set, based on, and I’m not, I have heard of that training, but I’m not as familiar with all of the criteria associated with people who train on that and who developed that. The criteria of anyone who delivers it standards that they put into place. So what will be very specific, but it is a great example of, and a great question, of right now things that are going on, and it might be that if it’s something that a specialist can come in and train someone at school to do. Then it would be critical for the parent to be involved in that training as well. Because especially since we are living in COVID, any opportunity for everybody that’s going to be working with the child to receive training so that they deliver things in a method that aligns with that, is only going to be even more helpful for the child to be successful. Does that kind of help, you think?

[00:29:07] Stella: Yes. She didn’t respond to anything, so I’m sure she’s listening, but I think you made yourself very clear.

[00:29:13] Rhonda: Okay, well, and we can change it, always —

[00:29:16] Stella: She just said, Thank you. She just said, thank you.

[00:29:19] Rhonda: Oh, you’re welcome. And with any of that specifics, if you would like us to look up any of that, we can. Because there’s so much, there are so many different things, but we can always follow up with that. We’re not here for the webinar and gone. We’re here to help you out. Whether if it’s through a webinar or one-on-one. But I am so thankful that you brought that up because that is a wonderful, wonderful point and something that is very critical, regardless of the training that you’re talking about, making sure that you ensure that consistency. So I’m very grateful that you brought that up.

[00:29:58] Another thing too, progress reporting. It, especially the way things are right now, and, you know, without even considering a child who had as an IEP, when we, at the end of the last school year, went to all remote learning, and then, you know, starting up this new school year, we weren’t able to go back like we had hoped or anticipated. Our children, regardless of they have disability or not are going to be at different levels. More so than they would have ever be in prior to the pandemic, because, you know, the pandemic has just created a great deal of things and mountains that we’re all climbing together, that we didn’t know that even existed on the other side of the hills.

[00:30:52] So what this is, is when we’re talking about the progress reporting and some great tips is finding out where your child is. Progress data, it still has to be provided. if you’ll remember back on your goals and objectives on your IEP, there has to be someone responsible for reporting that and collecting the data so that we know, because, you know, if we don’t know where our child is, we can’t help them get to where they need to be.

[00:31:24] So really getting those up dates so that you know. And especially with school starting back. And children will regress, any child will regress some over the summer, but then especially when we’re looking at our child that may have an IEP as looking at really getting an accurate picture of where they are. And [coughs] excuse me, we may not know that exactly. [clears throat] Hold on just a moment.

[00:32:03] [silence]

[00:32:03] Sorry about that. If I was clever and quick enough, we’d have had a little infomercial for ya or something, I’m just messing but, excuse me for the interruption.

[00:32:15] So if we know where they are, a lot of it, we may not have had the time yet, especially school just started back and the majority of the schools we’ve all been on the remote learning. Right. So there has not been the opportunity to find out where everybody is. If so, they may still be in the process. So it’s going to be critical for us to get a good gauge of where our child currently is, because we need to know where we’re at. And then looking at their goals and objectives to help them get there because, you know, there maybe needs, may need be some update of the IEP. Because, you know, and especially if we’re looking at the present levels, right, because present levels, which is in the beginning of the IEP, is what sets the stage for the rest of the IEP.

[00:33:05] So really looking at, does the present levels give a true picture right now of your child? and getting that data and the report on where they’re at, then you as well as the teachers and other staff at the schools are gonna see, okay, so where are we and how can we work together to get them to where they need to be? And it may be that the IEP needs to be updated because a great deal may have already changed since COVID hit and the starting backup of school. So just keep that part in mind.

[00:33:42] Behavior. And a lot of times when you hear behavior, you think, well, it’s just if they’re acting bad, right. Or they’re acting up. So when we say behavior here, of course, that could be there may be some behavior issues going on. But it’s much bigger than that. You know, the struggles that we’re having as parents, I don’t know about you all, but I don’t know that I’m being very successful as an NTI mom. I’m just gonna tell you. And I am not a teacher. I do not know all the different things. You know, I can try on different stuff, but there are a great deal of things, getting them and the struggle for them to do the work. But then also knowing how to teach them because I’m not a teacher.

[00:34:34] And you know, those are different things that could lead to where it’s affecting, not only well it has to do with the schoolwork, but affecting your whole family. And are there the behavior issues? Are there things that we need to work on? Having those honest conversations. Strategies to work during the remote learning setting. Are our children depressed, the social emotional toll that this is taking on our children. Many children who have IEPs, they have, you know, some goals and objectives and concerns that revolve around social and emotional. Well, the pandemic has only increased that.

[00:35:20] So our children, first of all, are living through a pandemic. We know we’re having a hard time with it as adults. We’ve never lived through this before. Just imagine how it is affecting our children. And really looking at those things and taking those things into consideration. You know, and really sharing with everyone to things where there are the struggles. Maybe if your child has, you know, a positive behavior plan maybe the things that you have in place are not working right now. And we may need to revisit that. Like how are we going to? And what can we put into place? Because what was working when we were in a school setting is not working at home.

[00:36:03] So the tip there, just to have those conversations. But not only had those conversations, what are the resources that you may need? Or how can we help our children? Because this time is affecting them as greatly if not more, than it does us. Because I don’t know about you all, but I could have never imagined living through this. So, really making sure because that is such a huge part of this. That and in the end, this plays a huge role in our children being successful.

[00:36:40] Support for you all. There are a lot of what barriers are you having? And what do you need help with? Again, right here you see the picture of where there are three kids and a mom trying to help one. Well keep in mind too, you may have a couple of children who have IEPs, or it’s not even the schedules and the responsibilities you may be having do work from home at the same time as your children are to be doing this schoolwork. There’s no way to do both at the same time and actually being effective all the way across, right. Because if we’re working and getting paid for that, we are working and we have to spend a hundred percent of our efforts on the work that we’re getting paid for.

[00:37:31] Because, you know, bottom line is we were parents and we’ve got to keep a roof over our head and food on the table, you know. And so schedules, it may be that the children aren’t able, even if they were supposed to be on at a certain time, having those conversations with the school. And even if you don’t work from the home, if you’re having to go to work, I use this example last week. You may have 4 kids all are doing remote learning, two may have IEPs, you’re a single mom or a single dad having to work two jobs, straight in a row, you know, and they work first, second shift and come home and then you’re supposed to help them with the schoolwork.

[00:38:14] So really looking at the schedules and being very honest and working again, that goes back with the communication, with making sure that the school is aware of, you know, I’m at work during these hours. How can we adapt this? And how can we work together to ensure that they are getting what they need? And really looking at your individual situation because just like each of our children are different, everybody’s, every family situation is different. And the resources that they have available.

[00:38:49] And, you know, one of the greatest resources, many times when you hear resources, you think of money. Okay. One of the greatest resources that does not get enough credit, is time. And I don’t know about you all, but there is less time in a day, it feels like to be able to get things done. And I don’t know that I’ve been as effective as I’d hoped I would be, but a large resource that we are all struggling with is the time and being able to juggle this.

[00:39:22] And I think of many of our teachers who are parents too, and also have children who have IEPs as well, them balancing that. So really just having those conversations and telling them what you are able and not able to do. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And you shouldn’t feel bad. You know, because you have to do what you have to do to keep your family safe, provided for, and the judgment needs to be left out of this. Whether, if you’re the parent or the student or the school, because everybody is working the best they can to get their families through this. So. That would be a huge one.

[00:40:09] Now, what did I pause for just a moment and check again with Stella, before we jumped into the school re-entry.

[00:40:18] Stella: I don’t see any more questions right now, Rhonda.

[00:40:32] Rhonda: Okay, thank you so much. Now, when we’re going over this, I’m going to try not to be confusing, of course, but a lot of it, you know, the more things that come out, the more you can get confused by a lot of the different steps. The reason I wanted to put this slide here, this was guidance back in June that was issued because all districts were working to plan. And this was from the Kentucky Department of Education, and these were options or combinations of how schools could plan to go back in-person learning or what strategy were they going to decide to do to open school back up right in the Fall.

[00:41:16] As we know the majority, you know, we are all until after this September 28th for all that went by the guidance from the Governor. But schools have, and you may remember what your school was planning before it was announced that we all needed to do the virtual, remote learning until after September the 28th.

[00:41:40] So if you don’t know what the plan was for your school, that’s another thing you make sure that you contact your school. Many were providing, and again, it depends on the district. Not all districts are rolling things out the same. And it was left up to the districts to decide this. Now, an important thing I want to bring up here is regardless of what strategy that they are using right, for the school, like some may be they’re going to do, I’ll use my son’s district as an examples.

[00:42:15] They’re doing where they’re doing the schedule rotation. The strategy one. Right. So their plan, when we start back in in-person in some part is to where they’re going to alternate to where they have a group A, group B. Some districts, I know I read earlier, one of my co-workers, it may have been Stella or Kellie had sent me, they were both updating me on things from different districts. They weren’t calling it group A, group B, they were calling it, I think group Red, group Blue or blue day, red day. So however it is being decided. And what it’s being called is to where certain students, because they could not, they’re working to go back in part in-person. But because of the guidance that’s provided in the safety of keeping to where you don’t have too many kids back in school at the same time. And I know our district and the other one that they had texted me about, was that going by last names, if you’re between A to L you’re your group A. If you are the other is group B to where you go to school Tuesday, Thursday, and do virtual learning the other day.

[00:43:33] But all at the same time, you are going to have a choice of some students could do live or on-demand or the virtual learning the whole time. So the districts are allowing parents to choose and what’s important is knowing what options your school was letting you choose from. If you’re getting a choice.

[00:43:58] And from everything I’ve read from different ones, there is some combination of something that’s being offered. But here’s the critical part, regardless of the choice that’s being offered or the choice you choose that does not change what is to be provided to your child. They will still receive their IEP services. Now if you choose where it’s all completely the remote learning, it may have to be through the alternate means. Right? So it might not be the one-on-one in-person. And it would be through say virtual, FaceTime or, you know, over the phone or different things like that. So, but the thing is, is if all students, regardless of if they have disability or not, parents are given a choice to choose. Your choice does not take away from the services and the supports that are to be provided for your child.

[00:44:58] So the reason I wanted to cover that, then another thing too, when children are going back in-person to school, this was something that was put on which, and I was glad in the re-opening stuff considerations with the least restrictive environment, which is under IDEA, and which is a key factor for children who have disabilities and a right, is that they be educated in the least restricted environment, LRE.

[00:45:29] You will see on the second paragraph, the practice such as placing all students with disabilities in the same classroom in response to a pandemic may result in denial of FAPE, which is free, appropriate public education. And goes totally against the least restrictive environment. So, it made it very clear that, that is not what is to be done. Because where a child is at that is a placement decision made by the ARC team. And not based on the pandemic and you’re wanting to keep children, you know, and it may have been being done trying to keep everyone protected or students who may have more health concerns, but you can’t do that because you’re going to deny FAPE if that’s not what’s appropriate and the placement that was decided by that child’s IEP team or ARC team. So I just wanted to cover that.

[00:46:23] Another thing too, before we get into how they’re deciding the districts go back, is I wanted to bring it it’s up again because we get questions all the time about the masks. So, most of our children are going to be okay. They’ll be able to wear the mask. Again, now that doesn’t say though, that we don’t have to do work and to really try to help them step into that. But for some children, regardless if it’s because of their health condition, it could be because of mental health that they are not able to wear it, the mask. And again, this is going to be very few and far between.

[00:47:07] But if this is, because we do get this question a lot, if this is the situation and how your child is not able to wear that, then if there’s a doctor’s note that will automatically provide them the immediate grants, it will immediately grant the waiver for the mask requirement. Now and the I was very glad that it said it could have been a note from the physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner, those should all be accepted. And it should be implemented immediately as a, you know, granted the waiver for the mask requirements.

[00:47:48] Also too, if you don’t have that, but it is an issue and your child’s not able to. You need to request an ARC meeting. The ARC team, the IEP team can determine if that in fact should be done and they can actually implement. And the ARC team can approve the waiver of the mask requirement too. So I wanted to make sure that we covered that so that you knew that that’s what it is. Many of our children, you don’t have to worry about this, but there are areas and some that you do, and it’s very critical that you know what’s been put into place for that.

[00:48:29] Now, so on the 15th, what was issued and based on the Governor’s recommendation is we’re looking at from the Department of Public Health, a metric design system. So, and I know this is going to sound even more confusing. Is that right now, because you know how we had been operating on was waiting to hear what the Governor’s recommendation for all schools, regardless of where they are in the state. [coughs] So now what’s going to be being done as of the September, starting the September 28th, right. Which I think is next Monday. Yes. My days are running together. What is going to take place is decisions are going to be being made based on where your County is in this color coded system.

[00:49:23] Now all of these again, are linked, this is to the press release that talks about it. And you’ll also have it in the handouts, this guidance document where this is pulled. What’s important is the four color metric guide for school officials. And it’s important for you as a parent to know this and the guidance it’s put out, because you can keep an eye on where your County is and what color they are. Because down here you can get the current map. And I’m going to show you a sample of that in just a second.

[00:49:55] They’re using this color coded system to be recommendations for what the school officials will make their decisions based on. And you’ll see there, the second paragraph the decisions on the school on instruction and activity for each coming week should be based on the color level at 8:00 PM Eastern time each Thursday. So this Thursday because we know the 28th, Monday, this Thursday, by this Thursday, the color level, you should look at the color level and you are going to make the decision based on what it is for the next week, based on where your County is on that.

[00:50:39] Let’s look a little deeper on this to kind of explain. So the green, they’re considering you’re on track. Right. And I’m not going to read all of this. But, and again, it’s all based on the metrics. And you know, I’m not a mathematical person, but I do love that they have laid this out to where it’s more understandable and I’m a visual person too so. And it helped me to which you’re going to see the map here in just a second to kind of get a quick glance of where you’re at. Now, when they’re yellow, there’s an increased community transmission of the disease, right. The community spread. Now, when you go to orange, this is an accelerated.

[00:51:22] And  the thing that I appreciate here too, is under each they had said green, in-person or remote learning. Right. So it could be the combination. Many districts are going to offer several options to their families. So they would be able to do that. Yellow, in-person, remote learning too. Now once you hit the orange, they are saying you should consider remote learning only. Now once you hit the red, they’re saying remote learning only. They’re not even saying considering it because you have such a heightened increase of the transmission of COVID, which is critical in your area.

[00:52:05] So now let’s look at this. And one thing too is right now, and this was took earlier today to put in the PowerPoint. Again, this is an example you could see this report that was up there was from yesterday at 4:09 PM, when I pulled it from the website this morning, that was the latest version of it up there.

[00:52:27] So you’re going to look at this and you can go right here, at any time to see what the current map looks like. So right now, we have some that are in red. So the districts say, when they look at this, when they’re looking at planning, what should happen after September the 28? Depending upon how this looks by the Thursday of the week before, remember the 8:00 PM Eastern time, if those are still in the critical, the red, then it should be the remote learning only.

[00:53:08] So districts are going to be making these decisions, and that it’s not going to be where we’re at now in this is based on the guidance we’ve been provided now, it is at a district level to make these calls working with their health departments. And considering the guidance that has been put out through the health department that the Governor has and with the Kentucky Department of Education as well. So getting a quick glance of where they are at. We have very few, as you can see, that are on track. We have a lot of yellow and a lot of orange, which is the accelerated. So knowing that.

[00:53:49] Now, again, with all of this in mind at any time when they’re going to make the call, that’s one reason I wanted to make sure when we were talking earlier, when I was talking about the contingency plans in the IEP, making sure that they’re developed is that when you look at this and then you go back and you look at the chart, well, you can see, and then you’re supposed to make the decision the Thursday before. Is that you could, at any time, move very quickly to where you all are back to an all remote learning. Even if you had started going back some in-person.

[00:54:33] So having that contingency plan in place is going to be critical so that our children are successful and adapting, right. The more we can plan and prepare for this. And again, if you’re in the remote learning right now, which we all are, the majority, there was only a couple of districts that didn’t do that. But, I think they still offer it, but they did put some in school back, some children in-person back. But the thing is, is even though you’re in the midst of it right now, having that time and planning that out to where you can implement it right away, right now as you’re in it. But then also see how we could possibly week to week it change on us, depending upon what is going on with our County and the spread of the COVID.

[00:55:26] I want to check though real quick here to see, let me go back. To see if there are any — I’ve got one more thing that we want to cover, but I do want to check with Stella to see if there are any quick questions here.

[00:55:41] Stella: Rhonda, just kind of one. If the child had been, or if a parent has been told that their child with autism, who is nonverbal, is only coming to school two days a week. So it’s like an AB schedule and the parent wants them to come more than that. I mean, what are their options for that? If the school is only saying they can come two days in because that’s what other students are doing, and so that parent was saying, how can I get my child to go to school more than that? And it’s my understanding that, you know, even students with disabilities are on the same, you know, it would be on the same schedule as a student without disabilities. And they’re only going for two days a week, then that’s what all students would go, is that correct?

[00:56:37] Rhonda: Yes, but I am glad though, because just like with everything. Yes, but, and. Right. So that was a great question to bring you up and that’s actually going to lead me into the next part we were talking about. Yes, they would be on the same schedule. But here’s what’s going to be critical, if there are parts in your child’s IEP, and I want to go ahead and go to this next slide that we’re not able to be implemented due to being remote, again you wanted to do it to the greatest extent possible through alternate means. But there may have been certain things that were not able to be provided.

[00:57:18] The considerations for re-opening schools, they, he updated September the second and there are two areas that I want to talk about here. And this may help with this question too. But again, keep in mind if these things are taking place, you’ve may also, bottom line with it, though whatever is decided yes, you would do like every other child. But if an IEP team meets and decide that this is what’s appropriate for your child, and it may be more than the two days a week. If health wise and it is safe for them to do so, given the guidance from public health, and everybody that’s been involved. Cause you know, we’ve got to take all those things into consideration. It is not an end all thing that yes or no, it can’t happen because there’s always that flexibility again, specialized for your child. Now, especially if they’re saying they have not been able to be provided, again, there are very few that you couldn’t at some extent provide, but there some.

[00:58:31] So this kind of bridges us into this. So if there needed to be some considerations for target services, hands on experiences, mental health, academic therapies. Any of the therapies should be provided in the alternate location, if at all possible, except for if it had to be the hands on experience or the in-person, but some may not have been, this would be an opportunity where those things could be taking place to bring children in to do some of those targeted services. As well as there are considerations for special populations, and again, children who have disabilities, and IEPs are considered under special populations.

[00:59:23] An example here is if there was that assessment that needed to be conducted and a part of it could not be completed until there was the in-person. Because everything that came out from KDE also stated that assessments should not be held up, that you should attempt to get them through the alternate means. And a determination of a child’s eligible not, should not be contingent on just one decision because an evaluation takes into consideration a lot of things, it’s not just one score on one test.

[00:59:58] So this does open up the door to where there, if again, it’s individualized for your child and what their IEP says is if there are some things, because there is that flexibility in it. Because there are so many unique needs for special populations to where things could take place. It may look a little different when they’re in the school. Again, taking into consideration the safety, making sure they’re safe, everybody else, but still being able to provide it. So, you know, that would be a conversation to have with your school first, I would suggest, but then also to really talk through as an IEP, ARC team, because that might be something that you all visit and talk about. Especially if it is things again that were targeted services that they have not been able to receive or at the extent that they need to be able to receive.

[01:01:04] So I hope that kind of but also too —

[01:01:09] Stella: I think that’ll really help her.

[01:01:13] Rhonda: Okay, well, and that also led us into talk about that. You know, because there are different things and because you know, all of our children are different. There are so many different things to keep in mind. And of course this has enhanced it greatly because now we have to take into consideration a guidance that’s being put out, you know, Department of Public Health and different people because of the nature of we’re living with a pandemic.

[01:01:40] So, I do want to make sure you see though on your resources, and I know there’s a lot, but I always want to include these. These are important things and guidance that’s been issued from the US Department of Education, Kentucky Department of Education and these are, these links when you bring up the PDF, if you saved it, or when you get it in your follow up email, you’re going to be able to click these and actually access that.

[01:02:04] But I always want to make sure that you see the different guidance and have access to that that has been released and unfolded over quite some time here, as we’ve all been going through this. And we continue to get guidance and as soon as we get more, we will make sure we share that.

[01:02:25] I just wanted to end, and I know if you joined me before, I typically I’ll have this in the beginning, but you may be tired of seeing this as well, but it always just is a reminder to me because you know, together we’re going to do great things for our children.

[01:02:42] Even when we may not agree all the time, we still are going to work towards and make things the best for all of our children. None of us have all the answers and, you know, it’s really going take all of us thinking about different ways to approach stuff, because you know, this is new territory for all of us. But making sure too that as a parent, you know your child best and you know things that may work with them and sharing that with the school is critical. Not only for them to know or right now to help for distance learning, but when we’re not in distance learning. So share those things, tips that you may have found and teachers sharing with you things that they have found that works for your child.

[01:03:31] But know that, that you’re not alone. I know it can feel like that and very isolating. But really we are going to get through it. But we want to make sure that our children and all of our children have the opportunities and supports that they need so they can all achieve great things.

[01:03:51] And so you all may know that we have started, well  we’ve been doing the Tuesday webinars, but the Tuesday Tips, which will be every Tuesday. Last week, we didn’t have one, but that’s one of the very few that we have not. And there’s different information on our website you can check. We’ll be doing different topics, every Thursday we have also a webinar available. You can check our web page. The events are up there. They’re always free and know that too this webinar, as well as others. Check out our YouTube channel, we have all kinds of webinars and they have been accurately close captioned and they are available, that and videos on our YouTube channel or websites. Sign up to get our e-news.

[01:04:38] Stella I cannot remember, but what is our, I should know this and not have to ask, what is our Thursday webinar this week?

[01:04:47] Stella: We are having, we are doing, it’s actually our scheduled Lunch shop and dinner shop this Thursday. And it will be, we do some 12 to one this Thursday because it’s our Lunch shop. And then that evening we will repeat the session at 6:30 and we’re going to be talking about collaborative communication.

[01:05:09] Rhonda: Oh, awesome. Thank you so much. And thank you for helping us out Stella. And if y’all have any questions, please let us know. I’m know I’ve went a couple minutes over and I do apologize. I do value your time greatly. If you all could take a moment to fill out your evaluation when I end this, you’ll be prompted to do that.

[01:05:27] If you don’t have a chance to know that there’ll be a link to complete it in your email. We value your feedback and your all’s feedback has helped us design and work on continually getting better and offering topics that you all need the most, and that you state in questions that you ask. So please fill that out because you help us to plan and just to get better, cause we want to make sure that this is what you all need. And your finding helpful and to really help as we all navigate through this. I hope you all have a wonderful day and thank you so much for joining us. Take care. Bye bye.