Message to Parents of Students with Disabilities 

April 15, 2020

Letter from Chancellor Carranza

Dear Families:

We want to thank you for your flexibility, patience, and partnership over the past few weeks as we launched implementation of remote learning. As we move into the next phase of remote learning, preparing to deliver instruction and services through the end of the school year, we want to share some key information concerning remote instruction and services.

We understand that for many students, not attending school in their physical school building is difficult, but this may be especially so for our students with disabilities. We are committed to communicating with you about your child’s needs in order to ensure success in their remote learning environment through the rest of this school year. Keeping in mind that parents and staff may be caring for others and/or battling illness themselves, flexibility is important. We are committed to serving all students according to their individual needs, and we will maintain that commitment.

Key Facts About Remote Instruction and Services Through End of School Year 

  • There will be frequent communication between schools and families during this time. Communication will be in your home language. By now, your school should have partnered with you to develop a "Special Education Remote Learning Plan" for your child based on their Individualized Education Program (IEP). If this has not yet happened, please contact your child’s teacher or your child’s related service provider if the only service your child receives is a related service. If you are not successful, e-mail specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311.
  • Note that for preschool students with disabilities, Remote Learning Plans are only being developed for children in a special class in an integrated setting (SCIS) or in a special class in DOE programs. For preschool students who receive related services or special education itinerant teacher only, services are being provided remotely.
  • Remote Learning Plans:
    • Can be adjusted over time, based on what teachers, related-service providers, families, and students learn through this experience, and after consultation with you. The purpose of the consultation is to discuss what your child needs in order to engage in remote instruction (including any modifications) and how services will be provided.
    • Should be made / updated with attention to how much screen time your child can sustain, whether or not you want your child’s services and instruction to include a video component for some or all of their sessions, and whether the frequency and duration you initially agreed to is working.
    • Will make sure your child is receiving the services and supports they need, while also affording you and your family any flexibility you may need during this difficult time.
  • IEP meetings will continue and will be conducted by phone. Assessments may be conducted remotely where appropriate. Parents can make a referral by emailing the principal or specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov, or by calling 311. Parents of preschool students can make a referral by contacting the CPSE page.
  • If you have not yet consented to the delivery of remote related services such as speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, or accepted an offer to provide counseling and would like to, please contact the service provider. If you previously declined services, you can change your mind at any time; just contact your child’s service provider to update your status. If you need support contacting your child’s service provider, e-mail specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311.

If your child needs a device to participate in remote instruction and teletherapy and has not yet received one, you can complete a Remote Learning Device survey or call 718-935-5100, and dial 5. If you have already completed a survey and have not yet received a device, or if your child has an Assistive Technology device on their IEP and they have not yet received it, please e-mail specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov.

See the Special Education Section of our Information on Remote Learning page to find answers as well as a list of resources we have compiled to support you and your child. If you have questions at any time, please e-mail specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311.

We cannot thank you enough for your partnership throughout this incredibly difficult time. 

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