Coronavirus → Reopening → Special Education Programs
Important note: Students in specific special education programs will be among the first groups of students to return to school buildings for in-person experiences.
Students enrolled in specific, self-contained special education programs who have opted to participate in an in-person experience will receive instructional services delivered by a classroom teacher or supporting staff members, such as paraeducators. In-person experiences may look different, given the number of students who are returning and the instructional model determined by their school. Stable classroom cohorts (groups) will be established to limit the number of students and staff members moving between classrooms.
Special education students who receive services in general education classes may receive instruction virtually, with in-person direct support provided by classroom staff members.
Students in discrete special education programs working toward Alternate Learning Outcomes (ALO) may follow this sample schedule, where students opting for an in-person experience will be taught by the teacher in a direct instruction model, four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.) Wednesday will remain a virtual experience. There may be additional classes, such as in a secondary school or specials/electives in an elementary school, where the students will remain in school under supervision of staff members and access their other classes, specials, or electives virtually in a learning support model.
Face shields, closed goggles, disposable masks, gloves, and gowns, KN-95 masks
Face shields, disposable masks, gloves, and gownsAccess to maximum PPE level
Disposable masks and gloves
Students will receive related services (e.g., speech/language, occupational, or physical therapies) remotely with in-person direct support provided by classroom staff members in a learning support model. Additional technology (e.g., large group webcam, student document camera with Chromebook) will be available in classrooms to help ensure the most effective delivery of instruction.
Critical needs which cannot be addressed through remote services may be provided by periodic pull-out or by appointment.
Special education staff members will be provided appropriate PPE to address the unique needs of students with disabilities. This type of consideration around PPE is also occurring in other content areas such as ESOL, World Language, music, and science.
PPE will match the unique needs of each program with flexible access to additional PPE to address special circumstances and crisis situations. Consideration for the type of PPE provided is based on the specific needs of the special education program and students.
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) will continue to receive special education and related services. The virtual learning for students receiving special education services may include:
Students will continue to have any necessary amendments to the special education services documented in the Prior Written Notice (PWN). The services described on the PWN align with each student’s IEP and document any changes to the IEP necessary for the delivery of special education services in the distance format. Special education teachers/case managers will continue to update the PWN in collaboration with parents/guardians.
MCPS has opened special education assessment centers at Hallie Wells, Sligo, and Julius West middle schools; families are able to receive support by appointment Monday through Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. These assessment centers allow families to participate in in-person educational and psychological assessments to determine initial and ongoing special education eligibility.
Speech/language, occupational (OT), and physical therapies (PT) will be delivered using a variety of methodologies. Services can be provided through direct televisits and may include both individual and small- group sessions. Services also may be delivered in a plug-in model, with a related service provider joining a student's virtual class to deliver direct services.
Screening and evaluations for students aged three to kindergarten will continue to be conducted virtually. Opportunities for in-person assessments are available as determined by the parent/guardian and staff members. Screening and assessment measures include an extensive parent interview, a review of the preschool teacher questionnaire, and other documents as needed to determine special education eligibility.
Standardized measures, including parent rating scales, are administered virtually or in person as needed, given the parameters of each assessment and the individualized needs of the student. Direct virtual observations of the student in their home or child care environment are conducted when feasible.
Evaluations conducted by OTs, PTs, speech/language pathologists, and other related service providers also are conducted virtually with opportunities for in-person assessments as determined by the parent/guardian and staff members. Evaluations may include parent interviews, student observations in their home or child care environment, and standardized measures as appropriate.
Children with disabilities and their families enrolled in MCITP will continue to participate in family coaching services based on the Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) outcomes as modified and agreed upon by each family and staff member.
Services provided are documented and may include:
Montgomery County Public Schools will continue to provide access to existing assistive technology tools. These tools will allow teachers to engage and support more students with disabilities and allow home access for more of these supports.
MCPS will continue to provide professional development and parent training on multiple topics related to the use of assistive technology tools and devices for students with high and low incidence disabilities.
For questions related to technology access, parents/guardians and staff members may contact: