The Reopening of Schools – A Special Education Spotlight
by Charlotte Berman | April 13, 2021
After more than a year of remote learning, it seems like hope is on the horizon for teachers, students, and parents. As teachers are becoming eligible for the vaccine and state guidelines are shifting, school districts are increasingly looking to restart in-person learning. Every school district is taking its own unique approach to integrate students back into the classroom this spring. However, prioritizing special education students is a common thread among most schools’ approaches.
Remote learning has hit special education students especially hard. Education experts state that many services and activities crucial for the development of special-needs students simply did not translate well online. Furthermore, special education students have reported a significant decrease in receiving access and a decrease in the quality of occupational, physical, and speech therapy services. It is no surprise that teachers, parents, and students alike are eager to get back into the classroom.
Here’s a brief snapshot of how some school districts across the country are planning to bring special education students and other students back to the classroom:
- The Washington State Governor issued a statement requiring schools to offer hybrid instruction opportunities for K-12 students by April 19th. School districts will be required to hold 30% of weekly instructional hours in-person. Seattle Public Schools have already finalized reopening plans for students with disabilities starting March 29th. Read more about Washington state’s Reopening
- 500 special education Montgomery County Public School students returned to in-person school on March 1st. Special education students attend in-person classes four times a week, yet still, participate in virtual classes for one day each week. Read more about MCPS’s Reopening. Remaining special education students and general students will return to the classroom in multiple phases starting on March 15th. Read more about Special Education Student, Rory Stephen’s Experience
- New York City Public schools are now preparing to open for in-person learning after the CDC updated social distancing guidelines to 3 feet. Parents received a 14-day window to opt back into in-person learning. 25,000 children and their parents opted to return to in-person learning within the first two days of the survey. Administrators are swiftly working to establish a timeline to bring students and teachers back to the classroom this school year. Read more about NYC sign up for in-person learning.
- Orange County School district in Raleigh, North Carolina voted to welcome elementary students and K-12 special education students back into the classroom starting April 7th. In-person instruction will be offered Monday-Thursday, while remote learning will take place on Fridays to allow for cleaning. Read more about Orange County’s plan to reopen.
- Las Cruces Public Schools in Las Cruces, New Mexico initially opened classrooms in February and early March to select groups of students. As of April 5th, classrooms are now open to all special education and general students who wish to attend in-person learning. Students and parents still have the option to continue full remote learning, however, buildings are open for in-person learning Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with Wednesdays remaining dedicated to online learning. Read more about Las Cruces’s plan to reopen.
Is your school district planning or already phasing in the start of in-person learning? As state and health guidelines continue to shift, schools’ reopening plans will undoubtedly continue to change in the coming months. Despite some returns to the classroom, schools will not be operating like they were before the pandemic. A hybrid learning schedule is a common thread among most reopening plans and virtual learning techniques are set to endure. This is where EdTech software like FrenalyticsEDU can come in to help your child and their teachers.
FrenalyticsEDU is a patented digital learning tool that provides highly personalized and interactive educational sessions for your child with Autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. With classrooms this year looking a little different, Frenayltics has responded by offering personalized digital lessons that are easy for teachers, accessible to parents and most importantly fun for students.
Frenalytics requires no special downloads, allowing your child to use computers, tablets, or smartphones to participate in learning sessions anywhere, anytime. Frenalytics software can be integrated and easily translated from your in-person classroom to your at-home remote classroom.
We are the first comprehensive and interactive software platform to manage every aspect of special education, from enrolling students to managing transitions and reporting outcomes. Our team at Frenalytics works extensively with educators to craft a one-of-a-kind software platform that improves the living experience for children with Autism and special education needs while saving time and money for parents and schools.