Allow All Students with IEP and 504 Plans To Attend School In Person 4 Days Per Week

Allow All Students with IEP and 504 Plans To Attend School In Person 4 Days Per Week

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CHUFSD Parents started this petition to Superintendent, CHUFSD Deborah O'Connell and

As concerned Croton parents, we are writing to urge the Board of Education to change the current policy and allow all students with IEP and 504 plans to attend school in person at least four days per week.

There is no question that all CHUFSD students have suffered during the pandemic, and we appreciate all the efforts the district has taken to keep staff and students safe during these unprecedented times. However, students with IEP and 504 plans are not receiving a fair appropriate public education as required by law.

We want to very clearly state that the teachers are not to blame; they have been learning to teach in new ways and adapting to multiple course corrections.

Some services simply cannot be effectively delivered remotely. A few examples:

  •  A one-on-one aide whose role is to help a student focus on an assignment cannot work with a student who is unwilling to be online in the first place, nor can s/he be expected to reteach a lesson in a breakout session.
  • Although some students with IEPs and 504s have been given the opportunity to attend school in the Flex Room on their non-cohort days, this is not a good option for all. If a student thrives in the regular classroom with his/her peers, they are entitled to be in this least restrictive environment.
  • Children with language-based disorders have reported struggles understanding instructions delivered remotely, particularly with having directions repeated and explained.
  • Students with attentional issues are challenged to focus on the teacher with the numerous distractions both in the home and online. 
  • Teachers are unable to observe emotional reactions that might allow them to address a challenge before it becomes overwhelming.

These are just a few of the challenges that special education students are facing.

Other districts including Pleasantville, Lakeland, Bedford and Hendrick-Hudson are offering four days per week for all special education students, demonstrating that it is possible.

We understand the regulations that CHUFSD follows in order to keep everyone safe.  However, there appear to be some inconsistencies. 

Last week, the Board of Education passed the resolution to allow high risk sports to move forward in our district. It is now permissible to allow high school athletes (and possibly a few 8th grade athletes) to cross cohorts to practice and play sports together indoors.  Presumably, those students play and come into close, physical contact with students from other cohorts and even other schools. After potential COVID exposure, the Croton-Harmon student athletes will then come back into school, moving about the building. In contrast, however, some parents have been advised that that their child cannot attend school four days a week because s/he would be crossing cohorts.

Another contradiction in policy is that CHHS students with IEPs have the option to attend school in person four days a week. This may be because a higher percentage of CHHS students are opting for remote learning. However, this doesn’t meet the needs of middle and elementary special education students who are rapidly falling behind.

Space limitations provide a challenge, but now is the time to think outside the box. Creative proposals like last summer’s scenario putting third and fourth grade CET students at either PVC or CHHS show that there is space available. It is simply a question of how it can best be utilized. From observations gathered during remote learning sessions, there appear to be at least a couple of spaces in many, if not most, of the classes.

While vaccines are rolling out and we’ve all learned to wear a mask and wash our hands, it is clear now that the pandemic is not going to be over any time in the near future, and these educational challenges will likely continue into the next year. Our special education kids can’t wait any longer to be in person. Look for the one or two slots available in each classroom and find the space for these kids so they can receive their legally guaranteed free appropriate public education as required by law.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!