When the U.S. Education Department provided recent IDEA guidance in light of the continuing challenges districts face due to COVID-19, it hinted at a new normal for extended school year services. ED pointed out that many districts were not able to provide ESY services during summer 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, meaning the old way of scheduling could change to meet students’ needs.
Looking forward, as IEP teams consider what to plan for students with disabilities in 2020-21 and beyond, school breaks and vacations may prove to be ideal times to deliver ESY services. No matter when they are scheduled, districts can heed a few ESY do’s and don’ts based on IDEA regulations.
- provide the necessary level of ESY services to ensure students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education.
- have a child’s IEP team determine on an individual basis that ESY services are necessary to provide FAPE to the child.
- meet state standards.
- Don’t limit ESY services to particular categories of disability.
- unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of ESY services as these decisions are for IEP team consideration.