Student with autism did not receive FAPE during COVID-related virtual learning
Docket Number: 0000000 , Decision Date: August 8, 2022
Attachment: Click here to download the decision.
In this case brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Court concluded that for a period of about seven months, the school district failed to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that was reasonably calculated for a teenage student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to make reasonable progress toward his communication goals. In particular, the district’s early efforts at supplemental virtual learning—which coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic—offered little assistance given the student’s unique needs. The Court also concluded the district failed to provide special education services during the virtual-learning period necessitated by COVID-19. While acknowledging the extraordinary situation schools found themselves in during the start of the pandemic, the Court stated the district could not waive its obligation under federal law to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student.