Students with Disabilities Need In-Person Assessments During Distance Learning
Our students have waited long enough for services required by law
On October 14, the district passed SCTA a proposal to begin in-person assessments for our students with disabilities.
Our District, like all local educational agencies across the state, is required to continue to conduct assessments while our students are attending school in a distance learning model. CDE has advised school districts that in-person assessments are permitted, and has reminded local agencies that there is no waiver for conducting assessments during distance learning.
To ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our students with disabilities, we are required to conduct assessments in all areas of suspected disability upon initial suspicion of disability, upon parent referral or request, when conditions warrant reassessment, and at least every three years after initial eligibility.
Our District currently has over 6,800 students with individualized education plans (IEPs). At this time, for the 2020-2021 school year, SCUSD has approximately 325 initial assessments that are overdue as of October 9, 2020. This is unacceptable to our students, our families, and our district.
On October 23, SCTA responded to the district’s proposal to begin conducting in-person assessments with a counter proposal that, if implemented, would impede our ability to assess students with disabilities. SCTA proposed:
- Participation in performing assessments for students with disabilities would be voluntary for teachers and service providers and employees could withdraw from volunteering.
- Any teacher who works with students with disabilities would receive additional pay, including back-pay of two hours per day since August 31, whether the teacher volunteered to provide in-person assessments during distance learning or not.
- That in-person assessments would be contingent on the development of a mutually-developed screening and testing process of not only staff, but students and SCUSD families as well. SCTA proposed that this extensive testing program must also be verified by a doctor from UCSF, the California Teachers Association (CTA) health and safety coordinator, and a representative from Sacramento County Public Health.
- That in-person assessments may not start until the District assesses all HVAC units, installs CO2 monitors, and prepares an HVAC assessment report documenting the work performed, going beyond federal, state and local air requirements.
- No new initial assessments of students with disabilities until overdue assessments are completed.
On October 29, SCUSD passed a response to SCTA’s proposal that the District believes meets the needs of our students with disabilities and protects the health and safety of our students, employees, and families.
The district rejected SCTA’s proposal that conducting in person assessments would be voluntary.
Students with disabilities are general education students, first and foremost. Providing our students with critical services required by law isn’t voluntary. This work is an everyday part of meeting our students’ academic, social and emotional needs.
In the counterproposal, the district:
- Rejected SCTA’s proposal that conducting in person assessments would be voluntary.
- Rejected SCTA’s proposal for an additional two-hours-pay per day since the beginning of the school year and throughout distance learning for related SPED work
- Countered SCTA’s proposal that overdue assessments be conducted prior to new assessments, with an expectation to reduce the overdue assessments by 20% per month in addition to completing any assessments that are due in a given month.
- Rejected that in-person assessments would be contingent on the development of a mutually-developed screening and testing process of not only staff, but students and SCUSD families as well. The district already has a screening process that meets state and county health guidance, and works extensively with SCPH for contact tracing. SCPH provides free COVID testing to the public, and gives expedited testing for teachers and school staff.
- Rejected SCTA’s proposal to modify air filtration systems, as SCUSD has already gone above and beyond state and county requirements already.