• Exceptional Student Education (ESE) – Traditional Learning Option

    In addition to the considerations noted for all students, the following considerations and processes will be in place for students who receive ESE services. 

    Self-Contained Classroom Settings

    Cohort: To the extent possible, and in alignment with IEPs, students in self-contained classrooms will remain as a cohort (group of students/teachers) throughout the day.  This will minimize the exposure to larger numbers of individuals throughout the school day.

    Handwashing protocols will be built into the daily schedule: Visuals will be provided to each school with self-contained classrooms for placement within each classroom.  Any time a student is using shared materials, they would be washing hands at the transition time.

    Social Distancing: Students will be socially distanced to the greatest extent possible.  When it is not possible to socially distance, students should engage in more frequent hand washing, and whenever possible, wear masks/face coverings.

    Personal Protective Equipment- PPE (masks, face coverings and shields): Understanding that there may be students, due to the nature of their disabilities, who will not be able to wear/utilize a mask/face covering, staff in those cases will need to wear a mask/face covering and shield. In addition, social distancing to the maximum extent possible should be considered when developing lessons and activities. Therapists, teachers and other staff working with students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, will need to wear face shields, but not masks/face coverings to ensure proper communication.  Shields will also be worn by all Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) when providing therapy and students should wear shields for speech therapy.  For staff that may not be able to socially distance, it is expected that they wear appropriate PPE as determined by the ESE department. Staff will receive training regarding processes and procedures for delivery of services.

    Student Instructional Components Regarding COVID-19: Social stories will be provided to staff and will be included in instruction upon return to school.  These social stories are focused on developing understanding of new protocols and the importance of maintaining healthy processes and decisions.  In addition, visuals for lining up, hand washing, schedule and classroom routines will be provided to schools and should be posted where students are able to see them.  The routines should be practiced during the school day. (Note: Social stories are a specific learning tool for students with Autism. They provide information in a way that is understandable and repeatable to teach a skill or further understanding.)

    Equipment and Material Cleaning – Where possible, students should have individual sensory items, classroom tools (e.g. Pencils, crayons, etc.) that are in separate containers. 

    Sensory Equipment

    In instances when equipment or sensory items must be shared, cleaning must occur on a frequent basis, between students and will need to be planned for by teachers and/or therapists. Such examples include, but are not limited to:

    Sensory and Therapy Rooms: Ball pits, tunnels, and cloth swings need to be removed as they cannot be adequately cleaned between students.  Equipment in therapy rooms that are cloth, or meet the above, need to be removed.  Should more than one student be in a sensory or therapy room at one time, they must be able to be socially distanced and refrain from sharing of equipment to the maximum extent possible.  Equipment (to include standers and other positioning devices) must be cleaned between students following proper cleaning protocols.

    Group Therapy Sessions: In the case where students are in small group therapy sessions, the size of the group should be considered in relation to the size of the therapy room to ensure social distancing where PPEs would interfere with the session or would not be able to be worn due to sensory or other issues. Further guidance and training will be provided to staff regarding delivery of services.

    General Education Settings

    In most cases, students will follow the expectations set forth for all classrooms.  In circumstances where students are included, but there are additional considerations noted above, such as sensory concerns that prohibit the wearing of masks/face coverings, a shield will be recommended.  If a shield and mask/face covering are not possible, then the student will need to engage in frequent hand washing and social distancing from other students will be maximized.  Visuals and social stories will be available to any classroom that needs them.

    Communication

    Communication will need to be provided with families and school staff on a frequent basis. 

    Families should review the PCS ReOpening Plan and begin to familiarize their students with the protocols and videos (e.g. hand washing, how to properly wear a mask/face covering, etc.) to support their understanding of the 2020-2021 school year.

    Families should communicate with school-based staff any non-negotiable for cleaning and sanitizing will need to be provided to staff. 

    ESE Documentation and Compliance

    Diagnostic Assessments- Access Standards

    Upon return to school, students will take diagnostic assessments that will be specific to grade level and for students on Access Standards, consistent with grade level and level of access in order to assess specific skills.  These diagnostic assessments should be considered in relation to the students IEP goals.  In circumstances where the results might indicate that the IEP team needs to meet to review and possibly amend the IEP, the meetings should be scheduled early in the school year. ESE service providers will need to collect data on IEP goals, following the standard guidelines set forth in the ESE Handbook.  Staff should track a student’s recoupment of skills and ensure that where necessary, Extended School Year (ESY) is considered. 

    For students who are instructed virtually– the expectation will be that students receive real-time specially designed instruction and related services, as if they were served in a traditional, face-to-face setting through virtual platforms (e.g. Microsoft Teams or Zoom).

    IEP/EP, Evaluation, Eligibility and Reevaluation Meetings

    For cases in which a yearly meeting was not held due to COVID-19, those meetings will be scheduled promptly upon return to school.  Any IEP/EP that has gone beyond the meeting due date, will be prioritized.  Further information will be provided to schools regarding IEP/EPs that will expire prior to October FTE Date Certain to ensure all meetings are scheduled and held. 

    Case managers will also review any students for whom there is an open reevaluation.  The case manager will meet with the student services team upon return to school in August to review all open cases and to prioritize completion.

    To the greatest extent possible, all eligibility and reevaluation meetings will be held virtually to limit exposure for students, families and employees.  If there is a specific request for an in-person meeting, all individuals participating in the meeting must adhere to the PCS health and wellness protocols outlined within the ReOpening Plan, including but not limited to: self-screening for wellness to be in a district building, social distancing and personal protective equipment.

    If parents/guardians have concerns about the status of IEP/EP or reevaluation, they should contact their case manager or school during the opening weeks of school.

     

    Exceptional Student Education (ESE) – MyPCS Online Learning Option

    In addition to the considerations noted for all students on MyPCS Online, the following considerations and processes will be in place for students who receive ESE services. Students who enroll in the MyPCS Online option will be contacted to discuss the services, accommodations and supports that can be provided through virtual learning. Based on receiving services at home, via virtual instruction, an IEP/EP meeting would need to be held to make necessary adjustments to the IEP/EP, such as services, accommodations and least restrictive environment (LRE).

    ESE Documentation and Compliance

    Diagnostic Assessments- Access Standards

    Students will take diagnostic assessments that will be specific to grade level and for students on Access Standards, consistent with grade level and level of access in order to assess specific skills.  These diagnostic assessments should be considered in relation to the students IEP goals.  In circumstances where the results might indicate that the IEP team needs to meet to review and possibly amend the IEP, the meetings should be scheduled early in the school year.  ESE service providers will need to collect data on IEP goals, following the standard guidelines set forth in the ESE Handbook.  Staff should track a student’s recoupment of skills and ensure that where necessary, Extended School Year (ESY) is considered. 

    For students who are instructed virtually– the expectation will be that students receive real-time specially designed instruction and related services, as if they were served in a traditional, face-to-face setting through a virtual platform (e.g. Microsoft Teams or Zoom).

     

    IEP/EP, Evaluation, Eligibility and Reevaluation Meetings

    For cases in which a yearly meeting was not held due to COVID-19, those meetings will be scheduled promptly upon return to school.  Any IEP/EP that has gone beyond the meeting due date, will be prioritized.  Further information will be provided to schools regarding IEP/EPs that will expire prior to October FTE Date Certain to ensure all meetings are scheduled and held. 

    Case managers will also review any students for whom there is an open reevaluation.  The case manager will meet with the student services team upon return to school in August to review all open cases and to prioritize completion.

    To the greatest extent possible, all eligibility and reevaluation meetings will be held virtually to limit exposure for students, families and employees.  If there is a specific request for an in-person meeting, all individuals participating in the meeting must adhere to the PCS health and wellness protocols outlined within the ReOpening Plan, including but not limited to: self-screening for wellness to be in a district building, social distancing and personal protective equipment.

    If parents/guardians have concerns about the status of IEP/EP or reevaluation, they should contact their case manager or school during the opening weeks of school.