Ask & Answer | What we know about serving students with disabilities, AP classes, and student privacy in the time of coronavirus

You’ve got lots of questions, and we are trying to keep up with at least the beginnings of some answers. Today’s questions are around serving students with disabilities, AP classes, and student privacy.

Serving students with disabilities

“We all agree education isn’t great for any kid right now, but let’s do the best we can for all kids, not just some,” says Lindsay Jones, president and CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. She notes how creative teachers and districts are being to make this work.

On March 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued a supplemental fact sheet to clarify what it called “a serious misunderstanding.” The fact sheet says, “As school districts nationwide take necessary steps to protect the health and safety of their students, many are moving to virtual or online education (distance instruction). Some educators, however, have been reluctant to provide any distance instruction because they believe that federal disability law presents insurmountable barriers to remote education. This is simply not true.”

The fact sheet “encourages parents, educators, and administrators to collaborate creatively,” with a list of practices including distance instruction, teletherapy and tele-intervention, meetings held on digital platforms, online options for data tracking, and documentation. Strategies that don’t depend on technology are also included.

  • Here is the press release from the U.S. Department of Education, accompanying the supplemental fact sheet.
  • Here is what the NCLD had to say about the fact sheet.

If you have a story about how your school or district is meeting the needs of students with disabilities, please email me at mrash@ednc.org.

Information for AP students

The College Board is providing online instruction for AP courses and is working on an at-home testing option.

For each AP course, there will be a “secure 45-minute online free-response” exam. The exams will focus on the content most schools completed by early March. Students can take the exams on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and will also be able to write the responses and submit a photo.

Free online AP review courses are now available. Here is the course schedule.

On student privacy and FERPA

The U.S. Department of Education released this FAQ to “assist school officials in protecting student privacy in the context of COVID-19 as they consider the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from student education records to individuals and entities who may not already have access to that information.”

Keep sending us your questions! You can email me at mrash@ednc.org or fill out the form below:

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Ask & Answer Coronavirus The Editor's Notes