Section 504 Services during COVID-19 Shelter in Place
In response to the threat to safety and health from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, school facilities in California are closed and school districts are adopting a variety of distance learning models in order to mitigate against learning loss.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do not specifically address schools closing for an extended period (generally, more than 10 consecutive days) because of exceptional circumstances, such as a global pandemic. The US Dept. of Education issued the following guidance: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf
During this indefinite period of school closures, Berkeley Unified School District is committed to supporting students to continue their learning, and to reducing the negative impact of school closures on our students’ educational progress. Guidance related to students with disabilities under Section 504 will parallel guidance from the BUSD Special Education Department.
To the extent possible, accommodations in an individual student’s Section 504 plan will remain unchanged during the distance learning. In preschool, TK, elementary, BTA( Berkeley Technology Academy) and BIS (Berkeley Independence High School), the principal is the primary point of contact for parents and guardians of students with Section 504 plans. At the secondary level, the principal’s designee is the academic counselor (high schools) and grade-level counselor (middle schools). BUSD is not able to conduct valid evaluations for new Section 504 plans at this time. Annual renewal of Section 504 plans will resume once school is back in session. Procedural Safeguards for Section 504 can be found here.