March 30, 2020
We are currently closed for all students in accordance with Governor Wolf’s school closure order. As it appears the pandemic-related closure will continue longer than first expected, we will be implementing an interim plan to provide virtual education to all students until the order is lifted.
This letter is to advise about planned changes and provision of a virtual free appropriate public education for your child, consistent with guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education affording public schools “flexibility” in these unique circumstances. You and your child continue to have the rights regarding a free appropriate public education provided to you under federal law. For more information about those rights, including your right to dispute these proposed changes, view the Notice of Procedural Safeguards on our Website at https://www.troyareasd.org/
The School District plans to initiate temporary, pandemic related changes to your child’s educational program and placement. Specifically, the School District proposes to initiate virtual special education and related services. These changes are temporary and will not change or affect the programming specified in your child’s current IEP. That programming will be in place once schools reopen.
We will send timing and logistical information about accessing virtual special education and related services for your child separately. This education and these related services will be based on your child’s needs as much as possible, given the limitations of the virtual platform.
Your child’s teachers, therapists and counselors, as applicable, will contact you about scheduling instruction and services. Group instruction will be recorded and will be available at alternate time if live instruction occurs at a time during which you or your child is unavailable.
In the coming weeks, we will meet individually with every child’s parent, through telephone or internet-based conferencing. These meetings will enable us to better tailor your child’s virtual education, to the extent we are able, as we all learn more about your child’s experience with this new learning experience. You should also feel free to contact your child’s special education teacher if you are having difficulties accessing virtual learning.
Your child’s virtual program will include participation in any virtual regular education course work in subjects for which your child participates in the general curriculum. The regular education subjects in which your child participates are outlined in Section VII of his or her current IEP. Information concerning regular education coursework will be shared with all families separately.
We recognize that some students will not be able to participate fully in, or will gain only limited benefit from, these virtual programs and services. Once the school reopens, we will resume your child’s educational program and placement as described in his or her IEP, and we will be discussing at IEP team meetings whether your child might require additional programming or services to address any learning problems the period of school closure might have caused.
We believe—and trust that you do too—that this experiment with virtual learning will prove better for all children in the present circumstances than doing nothing. We anticipate encountering difficulties with this roll-out, although just what difficulties remains to be seen. As such, your understanding, cooperation, and assistance is critical keep us all moving in a positive trajectory.
We are proud of our professional support personnel. We are confident that they will all work together with you to get your child through this pandemic and all it involves as best as we can in the circumstances.
Dr. Amy Martell, Superintendent