Special Education services during the COVID-19 closure

  • Questions? We've got answers!

    Thank you to those of you who attended our first virtual question and answer session on March 25!

    If you weren't able to attend, here are the questions and answers that were provided:

What is the plan for ensuring seniors graduate?

The State Board of Education (SBE) is currently drafting new guidance on graduating seniors. One of the current solutions is for teachers to use “Pass” (P) grades for seniors. The SBE is working on a method to waive credits for seniors as well.  

It is okay to email and call our student’s teachers?

Yes, teachers are working and are available to support students and families.

Are we asking the state to help with additional funds that might be needed to help gets kids the support they need due to regression?

Conversations surrounding funding are currently taking place at the district and state level.

Will work be graded during this closure?

Teachers will determine when it is appropriate to provide feedback and assign grades to individual assignments. Students overall grade(s) will not be negatively impacted during the school closure. 

Does the district have a plan for if school is closed for the rest of the year?

Should the closure persist past the initial six week timeframe, the district will provide updated guidance.

What are the efforts to consider the trauma response when kids do return to schools?

Students will be assessed on an individual basis for supports that are in addition to school-wide services. Our school counselors are reaching out to students to offer support via telephone, and video conferencing during the closure. If you have concerns about your child, please reach out to your school counselor for support.

If you had an evaluation scheduled, what happens?

Initial evaluation/assessments will be re-scheduled for when school re-opens. Re-evaluation can proceed if the team feels they have sufficient data to support continuation of services.

How is OSPI and the district planning to handle the backlog of IEP's once school is back?

Our staff will work as quickly as possible to schedule missed Child Find/IEP/Evaluation meetings once school resumes. Guidance from OSPI is that districts will have 30 days to get paperwork current once we return.

Will related service providers be keeping in contact regularly or do we contact them when needed?

Related service providers (OT’s, PT’s, SLP’s) are available via email. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or related service provider if you have questions around how you can provide support for your student at home during the closure.

Will translators be available to send IEP invites to families who do not speak English? Will they also be available during the IEP meetings?

Yes, our bilingual specialists are available to translate emails and phone calls as needed. If we do not have a specialist available for a language our district as access to language line.

Will extended school year services (ESY) services be available to our students following this closure?

In general, ESY services are intended to help maintain skills, not provide new learning. IEP teams will meet once school is back in session to determine the need for ESY or compensatory services on a case by case basis.

When school resumes, how will the district note student regression?

IEP teams will meet when school re-opens in order to evaluate regression and determine next steps.

How does a student get services if they have just transferred to the district but is not enrolled in a school yet?

Please call Jeannie Brown (509) 354-7393 and she will help get your student registered.

How will IEP modifications be addressed?

Modifications will be provided by the special education teacher. If you feel the work provided by the general education teacher is not appropriate for your student, please contact your student’s special education teacher and request more options.

If the parent does not have ability for Zoom, can they be on the phone on speaker and the special education teacher and general education teacher on zoom?

Yes, the parent could participate by phone as in any other IEP meeting, if the technology makes it equitable across participants. Some online platforms, such as Zoom, have the ability for participants to call in to the meeting.

With IEP meetings being held over Zoom, are parents still able to have their support system attend including advocates, and friends?

Yes, parents are welcomed to extend the invite to whomever they would like to attend the virtual IEP meeting.

Will my student’s IEP or evaluation meeting still be held during the closure?

Special education staff may still hold Child Find/IEP/Evaluation meetings during the closure. These meetings will however be held either over the phone or virtually. If you prefer to wait until after the closure and have a face-to-face meeting that is okay as well. Per OSPI we will be documenting any Child Find/IEP/Evaluation meetings that are late due to COVID-19.

I do not have a computer or internet at home. How can my child access the district online resources?

Laptops will be available for students to check out based on need and availability. Internet access will be supported by providing hotspots and coordinating with community partners. Check the SPS website March 17 to learn about the check-out process. 

My child has a district assigned assistive technology device. Can we take it home during the closure?

Starting Monday March 23rd, you make pick up your student’s device at the school during the school’s posted office hours. The device will be available for pick up along with a device check-out form.

  • These FAQs will continue to be updated as the Special Education department receives new information. Please email any questions or comments to beckyr@spokaneschools.org

  • A message from our director

    Spokane Public Schools is committed to ensuring students who receive Special Education services have equitable access to educational opportunities that maintain and develop academic skills during this unique time. These educational activities are not intended to replace classroom instruction or replace specially designed instruction that students would typically receive during the school day. Instead, these activities are designed to minimize regression while continuing to develop skills students have already had the opportunity to learn from their teachers.

    Special education teachers and related service providers will work Monday to gather materials for students based on each student’s IEP goals. These materials will be in addition to any educational materials that are already provided by general education teachers. Materials will be provided in both packet and online format. Our goal is to make sure each family has what they need to support their student(s) during the closure. 

    Please know that the Special Education department is here to help and support anyway we can. We are receiving updates and guidance from OSPI daily and will continue to provide updates to parents as we receive them. More information in the form of a FAQ document will be posted on the website Monday. I am available by email anytime so please do not hesitate to reach out as questions or concerns come up.

    In partnership,


    Becky Ramsey
    Director, Special Education
    beckyr@spokaneschools.org

FAQ for Families of Students Receiving Special Education Services