Huntington Beach City School District

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Special Education » COVID-19 FAQs


The Huntington Beach City School District continues to be dedicated to providing quality instructional programs, while ensuring a safe environment for our students, staff, and community. As we are adapting to the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, the District is committed to supporting students with disabilities during this crisis. Our Related Services and Instructional Support teams have been working diligently to develop and implement a plan for providing alternative support options to students with special needs in accordance with their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) safety requirements and guidelines. Below are responses to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19 and special education.
COVID-19 Special Education Related FAQs
What will learning look like for all students for the 2020-21 school year?
The District's reopening plan can be accessed here. This plan provides an overview of the three instructional models/phases that may be provided during the school year for all students in accordance with state and local health requirements. The school year will began on September 10, 2020 via distance learning per the Governor's mandate.  On October 6, 2020, the Board of Trustees for the District approved the Phase 2 Hybrid Reopening Plan authorizing schools to reopen with staggered return dates.  It is anticipated that the District will begin providing in-person special education services with a Hybrid schedule commencing on October 19, 2020 for preschool and elementary Special Day Class (SDC) students, October 26, 2020 for elementary school students, and November 2, 2020 for middle school students.  
Does an IEP meeting need to be scheduled for my child to enroll in the 100% virtual learning program?
No. The Governor has mandated that all Orange County school districts start the school year via distance learning until the County has shifted to a tier that allows reopening according to state and local health officials. Once students are permitted to return to school in person, parents may choose whether they would like their children to continue in a virtual learning program or return to school. California is permitting parents of all students to elect distance learning for their students where COVID or health-related concerns exist.
How will HBCSD support students in special education during 100% virtual learning/distance learning?
While participating in the District's 100% virtual learning or distance learning program, the services specified in each student's Emergency Conditions Plan will be implemented. If a student's IEP team has not yet adopted an Emergency Conditions Plan, then the IEP team will implement that student's current IEP in a comparable manner and to the maximum extent feasible during distance learning, until the next regularly scheduled IEP meeting for that student, at which time such a plan will be added to the IEP. Special education teachers will continue to support students with IEPs by working with small groups of students, co-teaching lessons, collaborating with general education teachers and related service providers, and scheduling and holding virtual IEP meetings in accordance with students' IEPs/Emergency Conditions Plans. Related service providers (speech pathologists, occupational therapists, etc.) will also continue to support students virtually in accordance with their IEPs/Emergency Conditions Plans.
What is Senate Bill 98?
Senate Bill 98 (SB 98) was signed into law by Governor Newsom on June 29, 2020. SB 98 reworks parameters for the 2020-21 school year and contains numerous provisions of great significance to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education. SB 98 legally mandates the following:
  • The school day has new instructional minutes as follows:
    • Kindergarten - 3 Hours (180 minutes)
    • 1st - 3rd grade - 3 hours, 50 minutes (230 minutes)
    • 4th - 12th grade - 4 hours (240 minutes)
  • Every student must have daily live interaction with a teacher (via Zoom, Google Meets, or telephone). 
  • School staff must take attendance and document daily student participation.
  • Each IEP must include a description of the services to be provided under "emergency conditions" in which instruction cannot be delivered in person for more than 10 school days. As of June 29, 2020, Emergency Learning Plans must be developed at initial IEPs or at the next regularly scheduled revision of the IEP.
What must be included in an Emergency Conditions Plan?
Emergency Conditions Plans must include a description of how special education and related services; supplementary aids and services; transition services, and extended school year services will be provided under "emergency conditions." The Emergency Conditions Plan should include synchronous (live via Zoom, Google Meets, or telephone) and asynchronous (video models, packets, Google Classroom, Canvas) instruction and related services.
Will students have access to instructional assistants as outlined in their IEP?
Yes, if a student's IEP specifies the use of instructional aide support, this will be provided in a comparable manner or as specified in the student's Emergency Conditions Plan.
Will IEP meetings be held during this period of virtual learning?
Yes. Case managers will reach out to parents regarding scheduling IEP meetings and will offer to hold the meetings virtually, either by video conferencing or telephone.
What if my child's IEP meeting was postponed during the school closure? Will it be rescheduled?
Yes. If an IEP meeting was canceled due to the temporary school closure, your case manager will work with you to reschedule it virtually.
What if my child's annual IEP isn't until the spring, but I have concerns now? Can I ask for an additional IEP meeting?
Yes. Contact your case manager about your concerns and request an IEP meeting. Your case manager will respond to the request and schedule a virtual IEP meeting to address your concerns within 30 days of the request.
Will HBCSD move forward with Special Education Assessments during this period of school closure?
Yes. HBCSD will attempt to complete evaluations within the 60-day timeline to the best of its ability. The IDEA allows the District and parent/guardians to agree to an extension of the 60-day timeline to complete an evaluation. We recommend parents/guardians work with their evaluators to determine the best course of action for the child. 
How will IEP goals and accommodations be implemented via Distance Learning?
All IEP goals and accommodations will be implemented to the greatest extent feasible. If the IEP team has not already done so, an Emergency Conditions Plan will also be added to the student's IEP, which will outline how special education services and supports will be provided to the student during any period of more than 10 days in which in-person instruction or services cannot be provided to the student due to an emergency.
What if my child cannot participate in distance learning without adult support and really needs in-person services during emergency conditions?
Contact your child's case manager to request an IEP meeting to discuss your concerns and collaborate with your team on the best way to provide support to your child given emergency conditions and applicable health orders.
What if my child requires additional services as a result of distance learning, but those services are not in my child's current IEP?
Contact your child's case manager to request a virtual IEP meeting to discuss your concerns and collaborate with your team regarding appropriate services and supports that will meet your child's needs during distance learning.
How will students eligible under Section 504 be accommodated?
If a student has a Section 504 plan, the accommodations and supports outlined in the plan will be implemented to the maximum extent feasible while the student participates in distance learning. The student's 504 team may decide to revise the accommodations and supports in a student's plan to reflect accommodations and supports to be provided during an emergency situation in which instruction cannot be delivered in person for more than 10 days in order to ensure the student continues to have an equal opportunity to access his or her educational program.
Don't see an answer to your question?
Contact your student's case manger or the Special Education Department by completing this form.