Guidance for School-Based Therapists Amid COVID-19


“There is no defined or correct method to adequately and equitably meet the need s of all students in an unprecedented event such as the current COVID 19 pandemic response. LEAs need to be flexible and consider employing a variety of delivery options as they make reasonable efforts to provide services to students with disabilities." (from TEA, https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid19_special_education_qa_updated_march_20.pdf)

School districts will each determine how to best provide education to all students during this confusing and rapidly changing climate. There is probably no option that does not come with advantages and disadvantages. Districts must consider access to instruction, equality, efficiency, competence with technology and more; many will want to follow the guidance of their attorney. It has been made clear that as soon as districts begin to provide instruction to students, all the mandates from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are in effect, including timelines for initial evaluations and implementation of Individual Education Programs (IEPs). As related service providers, school-based occupational therapists and physical therapists need to work closely with district leaders to determine how to assist the district to meet its obligations. In many districts, this will be your Special Ed Director or Coordinator.

As you move forward, here are some things you'll want to consider:

  • How is your school district planning to deliver instruction to students?
  • How is your school district planning to individualize instruction to students wit
  • h an IEP?
  • How can you gain access to instruction being provided to students you are serving?
  • How can you contact teachers to collaborate and provide support?
  • If instruction is being provided through an online platform, can you schedule to participate in order to provide needed support?
  • If your district is asking you to provide services through telehealth, are you versed in your discipline's licensure rules related to telehealth?
  • What technology support will you need to provide services?
  • How will you communicate with parents who do not speak English?




Author By

Amy Collins


Created at 3/23/2020 6:45 PM by Janine Calmes
Last modified at 8/4/2022 3:54 PM by Janine Calmes