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Secretary DeVos Rejects Calls for Waivers – School Districts Must Comply with IDEA and Section 504 

by Jacob A. Manning, Jason S. Long

Published: April, 2020

Submission: May, 2020


In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Congress – among other things – directed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to report regarding waivers of children’s rights under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. On April 27, DeVos announced she would not recommend that Congress pass any additional waivers concerning the requirements in those acts.

According to the announcement (available here), the secretary determined there is no reason a student’s access to FAPE cannot continue online, through distance education, or other alternatives. She did request that Congress consider additional flexibilities on administrative requirements under the Perkins Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the IDEA (the full report containing the list of waivers is available here).

The importance of this announcement is that schools must continue to provide a FAPE to students in the least restrictive environment even during the current pandemic. Also, without a wholescale waiver, schools should anticipate continuing to hold timely IEP and 504 Team meetings and as stated by the secretary, provide for students’ needs online, through distance education, or other alternative means.

Should you have any questions on this issue or others, please contact a member of Dinsmore & Shohl's Education practice group.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


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