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    Dear Parent/Guardians,

     

    Please consider this letter as written notice of the TASD’s intention to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) during this 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and separation from the brick and mortar school. As Governor Wolf has extended the school closure mandate through April 7, 2020, we are all focused on the health, safety, and well-being of all students, families, and staff. The United States Department of Education (USDE) has issued guidance for implementation of IEPs during this unprecedented time. The Department noted, “that exceptional circumstances may affect how all educational and related services and supports are provided,” and “during this national emergency, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same manner they are typically provided.” That said, The Tamaqua Area School District is dedicated to providing an alternative learning opportunity that best meets the needs of our special education students.

     During the past two-week period, no related services were provided. A plan for enrichment and review has already begun on March 25th and will continue through April 7th. Planned instruction will begin on April 8th. At that time, our creative and talented special education staff is committed to making a “good faith” effort to provide continuity of education, planned instruction, and appropriate and reasonable services for students during Covid-19 school closures. During this time, general education teachers will provide accommodations to the degree possible and appropriate based on individual student plans, including IEPs, GIEPs and 504 Plans. Special education teachers and general education teachers will collaborate to ensure access to the content for students with disabilities.

     If you have not already, you should expect to hear from your child’s special education case manager this week to review any concerns you may have. We will continue to hold IEP meetings virtually throughout the closure for annual IEP meetings. Platforms and modes of teachers may differ as we begin this virtual instructional process.

    If you have any questions regarding your child’s continuity of education, please contact your child’s case manager. Teachers will be checking email frequently, while having office hours daily. If your child had a reevaluation due during the closure, we will continue to conduct the reevaluation with a review of records. If in-person assessments are necessary, we will issue additional permissions once in-person testing is able to occur. If your child is in the special education referral phase and going through the testing process, our school psychologist will be in touch with you. They will discuss the progress made on the evaluation, and the district’s best efforts to complete an appropriate evaluation of your child.

     Our special and regular education staff here at Tamaqua Area School District are excited to continue preparing our students for success. We are committed to serving your child in the best way possible through this stressful time for our students and families.   We understand that child care, home situations, and availability will vary for everyone.   We are in this new and unprecedented challenge together. If you have specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at jbetz@tamaqua.k12.pa.us. Please know that we are doing everything we can to continue to provide all of our students with instruction, support, and services through these uncertain times. Until such a time as we can resume business as usual, stay healthy and be safe.
     

     

    Sincerely,

     

    James Betz

    Director of Special Education

    jbetz@tamaqua.k12.pa.us