Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)Updated July 20, 2020, 2:55 PM
We aim to provide state Part C and Part B, Section 619 programs with the latest information on funding and guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may wish to begin by reading the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. For specific questions pertaining to Part C or Section 619, contact your ECTA state contact. For Part B, K-21, contact NCSI.
U.S. Department of Education
This page provides information, tools, and resources to help parents, teachers and related service providers meet the educational, behavioral, and emotional needs of children and youth with disabilities through remote and virtual learning. Additionally, a searchable database is available to filter these resources by age, audience and topic.
Question and Answer Documents
July 6, 2020
These OSEP-developed question and answer documents respond to inquiries from IDEA program coordinators and others:
- Part C Evaluation and Assessment Timelines in the COVID-19 Environment (July 6, 2020)
- Part C Procedural Safeguards in the COVID-19 Environment (June 30, 2020)
- Part B Procedural Safeguards in the COVID-19 Environment (June 30, 2020)
- Implementation of IDEA Part C Use of Funds (June 26, 2020)
- Implementation of IDEA Part B Use of Funds (June 26, 2020)
- Flexibility in Implementation of IDEA Part B Fiscal Requirements (June 26, 2020)
- IDEA Part C Dispute Resolution Procedures (June 22, 2020)
- IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution Procedures (June 22, 2020)
- Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak (March 12, 2020)
Report to Congress of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Recommended Waiver Authority under the CARES Act
April 27, 2020
The report includes waiver authority recommendation for one early childhood IDEA waiver, which is specific to transition from Part C to Part B. This waiver authority would provide the Secretary with the authority to extend the IDEA Part B transition evaluation timelines (Part B initial evaluation) so that toddlers served under Part C may continue to receive services after their third birthday and until a Part B evaluation could be completed and eligibility determined. The recommendation goes on to state that this flexibility should allow for CARES Act funds or other Federal education funds (e.g., IDEA Part B funds) to be used to provide these services. U.S. Secretary DeVos does not recommend Congress pass any additional waivers concerning Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements of the IDEA during the COVID-19 national emergency.
Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities
March 21, 2020
Many schools and programs are moving to distance learning or tele-intervention. Some educators may feel reluctant to provide any distance instruction because they believe that federal disability law presents insurmountable barriers to remote education. This is simply not true. In this March 21, 2020 document, OSEP reminds schools they should not opt to close or decline to provide distance instruction for students with disabilities. A Spanish-language version of this fact sheet is also available: Hoja informativa sobre el riesgo de COVID-19 en escuelas preescolares, primarias y secundarias que atienden a niños con discapacidades
May 18, 2020
This fact sheet outlines States' responsibilities to English learners and their parents during the extended school closures and, in some cases, the move to remote learning due COVID-19. LEAs should collaborate with its SEA and local public health department, as appropriate, in implementing the guidance provided.
Email to SEA Directors and Part C Coordinators Regarding Submission Flexibility for FY 2020 IDEA Grant Applications
April 26, 2020
The text of the email is reprinted below:
- From: Corr, Greg
- Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2020 6:04 PM
- Subject: Submission Flexibility for FY 2020 IDEA Grant Applications
Dear SEA Director and Part C Coordinator,
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) appreciates your work in meeting the needs of infants, toddlers, students, and their families during the challenges imposed on your programs by the Covid-19 pandemic. We know you are operating under extremely stressful circumstances and we are continuously exploring ways in which we can alleviate some of that burden for you.
Many of you have contacted OSEP to share your challenges with submitting your IDEA grant application for FFY 2020. Specifically, you have discussed how the pandemic restrictions that exist within your States have hampered your ability to obtain wet signatures on your IDEA grant applications. In order to address these difficulties, OSEP is providing the following flexibilities for the FFY 2020 Grant Application process:
OSEP will accept a pdf copy of your State's FFY 2020 IDEA grant application with an electronic signature. This "e signature" can be a two-factor authenticated signature or an image file of the signature of the lead agency director or their designee that has the authority to certify the assurances that are contained in the application.
The pdf copy of your State's FFY 2020 grant application must be submitted to one of the following OSEP application email addresses:
The application due dates for the grant applications are:
- Part C: Friday, May 1, 2020
- Part B: Friday, May 15, 2020
If you need additional time to complete your grant application due to the revised submission instructions for 2020, please contact Jennifer Simpson at Jennifer.email@example.com.
Hard Copy Grant Applications:
States will still be required to submit hard copy FFY 2020 IDEA grant applications to OSEP by mail. However, the due date for submission of those documents to OSEP is no later than August 1, 2020.
We look forward to the receipt of your grant application documents.
A follow-up email was sent the following day, including additional instructions on electronic grant submission. The text of the email is reprinted below:
- From: Corr, Greg
- Sent: Monday, April 27, 2020 9:39 AM
- Subject: Additional Instructions -Electronic Grant Submission
SEA Directors and Part C Coordinators,
Sunday evening, I sent you an email that explained the flexibilities that are available to you for submission of your State's FFY 2020 IDEA Grant Applications (original message is included below). As you prepare to send your applications to OSEP, please follow these additional instructions:
- Provide the phone number and email address of the State government official who signed the application so that OSEP can contact them and verify that they signed the document.
- This information can be provided in the body of the email message that includes your grant application or can be included in a cover letter with your application.
- Ensure that your submission is sent from an official State government email address.
If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Simpson at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 23, 2020
Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). The Department will award these grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation. ESSER Fund awards to SEAs are in the same proportion as each State received funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in fiscal year 2019. States have until July 1, 2020 to apply.
April 14, 2020
Congress has set aside approximately $3 billion of the $30.75 billion to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF). These grants will be awarded to States (governor's offices) based on a formula stipulated in the legislation: 60% will be awarded based on the State's relative population of individuals aged 5 through 24 and 40% will be awarded based on the State's relative number of children counted under section 1124(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).
If you have any questions, email GEERF@ed.gov
FERPA and Virtual Learning During COVID-19
March 30, 2020
March 24, 2020
OSEP sent a letter to State Directors and Part C Coordinators regarding SSIP timelines. The text of the letter is reprinted below:
- From: VanderPloeg, Laurie
- Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 4:20 PM
- Subject: State Systemic Improvement Plan
Dear State Directors and Part C Coordinators:
In response to inquiries from multiple stakeholders and following deliberative conversations within the Department, OSEP would like to provide updates on upcoming timelines specific to the FFY 2018 SPP/APR, including the submission due date for the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). We have recently received questions regarding a possible extension of the due date for the SSIP (Indicators B-17 and C-11) and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the SPP/APR clarification period and OSEP's issuance of States' annual determinations.
Although OSEP recognizes the unique and challenging circumstances state offices are experiencing, we have decided to adhere to the April 1, 2020 due date for the SSIP. We acknowledge that there may be circumstances related to the COVID-19 crisis that impact a State's ability to meet the April 1st deadline and OSEP is prepared to address State-specific needs as they arise. If you are unable to submit the SSIP by April 1st, please contact OSEP at SPPAPR@ed.gov, and cc Leslie.Fox@ed.gov, prior to April 1st.
As States continue to weather the impact of COVID-19 on schools and early intervention programs, OSEP recognizes that timely information and clear expectations are critical for your planning and decision-making. As you know, the SPP/APR clarification period is scheduled from April 14 - April 28 for Part C, and April 16 - April 30 for Part B. If necessary, OSEP may adjust these dates based on emerging issues. However, at this time we continue to be committed to completing our reviews of States' SPP/APRs and issuing determinations in a timely manner.
Thank you for your on-going work to support infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families under such challenging circumstances.
- Office of Special Education Programs | United States Department of Education
- 550 12th Street SW | Washington, D.C. 20202
- Phone: (202) 245-6180
- Email: email@example.com
See also: State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)
March 20, 2020
Fact Sheet: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students
March 16, 2020
This fact sheet from OCR presents the rights of students with disabilities during school closures, and reminds schools of their legal obligation to comply with non-discrimination obligations under civil rights laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the ADA, and provides tools to assist schools in facilitating distance learning for all students.
March 12, 2020
Non-Regulatory Guidance on Flexibility and Waivers for Grantees and Program Participants Impacted by Federally Declared Disasters (2018)
September 20, 2018
This document discusses waivers and other forms of relief from Federal requirements in order to provide programs the operational flexibility necessary to continue operations as they recover from extended school or program closures due to a disaster. The guidance addresses flexibility on reporting deadlines, timelines for grant-funded activities, and maintenance of fiscal effort or matching requirements, where applicable; proposes potential alternatives and strategies for providing program services after disruption; and suggests methods for ensuring continuity of services and communication with program participants. In addition, the document covers a variety of topics specific to various program areas.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Office of Head Start (OHS) is issuing regular COVID-19 Updates.
Head Start Transportation Services and Vehicles During the COVID-19 Pandemic
June 22, 2020
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) sent the following memorandum to Head Start and Early Head Start agencies and delegate agencies. The text of the memorandum is reprinted below, and its contents are also available on the ECLKC website and as a PDF download.
- From: ACF Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Log Number: ACF-IM-HS-20-04
- Issuance Date: 06/22/2020
- Originating Office: Office of Head Start
- Key Words: Transportation Services; Vehicles; COVID-19 Pandemic
To: All Head Start and Early Head Start Agencies and Delegate Agencies
Subject: Head Start Transportation Services and Vehicles During the COVID-19 Pandemic
School buses and allowable alternate vehicles are generally the safest mode of transportation for children. They are also necessary for many children and families to participate in Head Start programs. Implementing safe practices is essential when providing transportation services during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
When making decisions about transporting children, programs should consult local health officials and other state and local authorities, to the extent feasible. These authorities can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on levels of COVID-19 community transmission and the capacities of local public healthcare systems. Staff should take steps to ensure they mitigate the risk with respect to school buses and allowable alternate vehicles. The steps Head Start programs take to reduce risk should be the same whether the program is providing its own transportation or relying on contracted or school district-provided transportation.
Support Transportation Staff Safety
- Strongly encourage staff members who are sick to stay home, particularly those who have tested positive or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Sick staff members should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments. Staff who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations sick people should follow.
- Send home staff experiencing symptoms during work hours.
- Assign vulnerable workers alternate duties that minimize their contact with children, families, and other employees, if possible.
- Make available and ensure the use of cloth face coverings per CDC recommendations. Vehicle operators should wear a cloth face covering only if it will not interfere with safe driving. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Make available and ensure the use of hand hygiene supplies per CDC recommendations.
Key times to clean hands:
- Before and after eating, preparing, or handling food and drinks
- After using the toilet
- After coming in contact with bodily fluid
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling garbage
- Before and after work shifts and breaks
- After touching frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
Use of Head Start Vehicles During Periods of Service Interruption
Based on public health guidance, programs may temporarily stop regular program operations, including center-based, family child care, and home-based services. During this time, to the extent possible, employees should continue to engage families and deliver critical services remotely. Programs should continue to provide children with supplies they would receive normally through the program, such as diapers, formula, snacks, meals, and learning supplies.
When programs use agency vehicles to transport food and supplies, they should:
- Minimize contact between vehicle operators and other staff, children, and families as they load and deliver supplies.
- Make available and ensure the use of cloth face coverings and hand hygiene supplies, as described above. Ensure staff maintain at least 6 feet (about two adult arms' length) between each other and families receiving supplies.
Use of Head Start Vehicles to Provide Transportation Services for Children
For programs that are currently operating:
- Minimize contact between vehicle operators and other staff. If possible, stay at least 6 feet from other people.
- Make available and ensure the use of cloth face coverings and hand hygiene supplies as described above.
- Conduct a health check of all children and staff before they board the vehicle. Do not transport individuals with a fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or above or who show other signs of illness. Do not transport individuals who have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of someone who has tested positive for, or is showing symptoms of, COVID-19. Consider training and equipping bus monitors to use a non-contact thermometer.
- Position children as far apart as possible, preferably 6 feet apart, with one child per bench and no consecutive rows. If children are coming from the same home, they may sit together. If possible, ensure children sit 6 feet away from the vehicle operator.
- Reroute or stagger bus runs, as needed, to keep group size small and minimize potential exposure between children.
- If possible, keep class groups together on bus runs to minimize potential exposure between different groups of children.
- Use visible cues, such as stickers on the floors, to guide children and offer gentle prompts to help them understand the new protocols. Remember that young children do not understand the need for physical distancing. They rely on adults for their safety and care.
- Vehicle operators should avoid touching surfaces often touched by bus passengers, to the extent possible. Staff should use gloves if touching surfaces contaminated by body fluids.
Programs should check state and local health department notices daily about COVID-19 transmission and mitigation levels in the area and adjust operations accordingly. As community conditions continue to change, some programs may need to adjust their program operations and services.
Based on local data and guidance or directives, programs should be prepared to stagger routes, reduce bus runs, or end bus runs temporarily. Programs should engage staff and families when making changes to transportation policies.
Clean Vehicles Between Each Use
Programs should clean and disinfect vehicles between each use pursuant to CDC's recommended process using products that are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19. Be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Ensure safe and correct use of cleaning and disinfection products, including storing products securely away from children. Cleaning products should not be used near children. Staff should ensure there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children or themselves from inhaling toxic vapors.
- For hard and non-porous surfaces inside the vehicle (e.g., hard seats, arm rests, door handles, light and air controls, doors, windows), clean with detergent or soap and water if the surfaces are visibly dirty, prior to disinfectant application.
- For seatbelts, and other child safety restraints, programs must employ methods and products that are effective on COVID-19 and safe for use with the restraint system, particularly seatbelt webbing. Chlorine- or ammonia-based solutions may cause deterioration of safety restraint components and cannot be used. For cleaning guidelines, consult the vehicle or restraint system manufacturer.
- For soft or porous surfaces (e.g., fabric seats), remove any visible contamination and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces.
Refer to the CDC for additional information, particularly:
- Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K–12 Schools and Child Care Programs
- Guidance for Child Care Programs That Remain Open
- Child Care Decision Tool
- Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- What Bus Transit Operators Need to Know About COVID-19
Please stay in touch with your program specialist as you plan and provide program services.
Thank you for your work on behalf of children and families.
Dr. Deborah Bergeron
- Office of Head Start
- Office of Early Childhood Development
April 14, 2020
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act 2020 has $750 million available for Head Start and Early Head Start agencies for supplemental summer programs and one-time activities in response to COVID-19. As a result of the CARES Act, $500 million will fund high-quality summer learning experiences that promote school readiness and successful transition to kindergarten. For one-time COVID-19 response activities, $250 million is available for such activities as mental health services, crisis response, and staff training and professional development on infectious disease management. Applications are due by May 15, 2020.
March 31, 2020
The Office of Head Start (OHS) has received many questions from grantees seeking approval for local decisions about operations. OHS general guidance is reprinted below, and are also posted and being updated regularly.
Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency
March 23, 2020
During this nationwide public health emergency, covered health care providers subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and provide telehealth services, through remote communications technologies. Some of these technologies, and the manner in which they are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules.
March 6, 2020
Closure of centers in areas heavily impacted by COVID-19 is an important element of containing and limiting its spread. In recognition of the unique circumstances associated with COVID-19, OHS is directing programs to continue to pay wages and provide benefits for staff unable to report to work during center closures necessary to address COVID-19. During center closures, employees should continue to engage families and to deliver services to the extent possible, remotely. This flexibility remains in effect through April 30, 2020 unless further extended by OHS.
The ACF promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities. Its website provides COVID-19-related resources related to early childhood development, child care, child welfare, and community services, among other topics.
Center for Medicaid Services
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for State Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies
April 2, 2020
This 34-page document answers questions about Medicaid and CHIP ranging from emergency preparedness to flexibilities in eligibility and enrollment, benefits, cost-sharing, managed care and health information exchange.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Guidance for Direct Service Providers, Caregivers, Parents, and People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders
This page includes information on helping different audiences think through needed accommodations, modifications, and assistance for the people they serve who have developmental and behavioral disorders. Guidance includes continuing developmental monitoring and screening during COVID-19 as well as assisting parents in supporting their children’s distance learning.
This page showcases two Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs that are providing essential services for children who are deaf and hard of hearing to achieve their full potential in language, cognitive, and social development during COVID-19.
This page highlights factors that influence the health of disproportionally vulnerable racial and ethnic minority groups. They are living conditions, work circumstances, and underlying health conditions, and lower access to care. Options to mitigate these circumstances are offered from federal, community, healthcare and public health perspectives.
The CDC has issued the following specific guidance for schools:
- Make hand cleaning supplies readily available.
- Encourage students and staff to stay home if sick.
- Monitor absenteeism.
- Plan for digital and distance learning.
- Be prepared to temporarily dismiss or close schools and cancel events.
- Short term dismissals for cleaning and contact tracing if you have a case.
- Longer dismissals if you have substantial spread in your area.
- Plan ways to continue student services such as school meal programs if schools close.
- Stagger staffing or schedules to reduce in-person interaction.
- Work with your local health department for guidance on closures and re-openings.
Additional Resources from the CDC
- Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) and Children
- Considerations for School Closure
- Child Care and Preschool Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
- COVID-19 in ASL
Resources for Small Businesses
April 29, 2020
This document from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) includes information on helping child care programs understand and navigate small business loan options specific to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
April 27, 2020
The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship developed this FAQ on small business supports via the CARES Act including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Small Business Debt Relief Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Injury Grants, Small Business Counseling, Contracting, and Tax Provisions.
April 1, 2020
This U.S. Chamber of Commerce guide helps small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan. It answers the following questions for borrowers: am I eligible, what are lenders looking for, how much can be borrowed and will the loan be forgiven?
Remote Service Delivery and Distance Learning in response to COVID-19
OCR Short Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility
March 17, 2020
This webinar reminds decisionmakers of their responsibility in making distance learning accessible to students with disabilities, unless equally effective alternate access is provided. Online learning tools must also be compatible with the various forms of assistive technology that students might use.
More on Remote Service Delivery and Distance Learning
- Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency (HHS)
- COS Completion When Teams Can't Meet in Person (ECTA Center, DaSy Center)
- COVID-19 Resources (Early Childhood Personnel Center)
- Telehealth in Physical Therapy in Light of COVID-19 (APTA)
- Telepractice Services and Coronavirus/COVID-19 and Telepractice Resources During COVID-19 (ASHA)
- Use of telehealth in early intervention (IDEA Part C): Resources to consider during the COVID-19 public health emergency (Public Consulting Group)
- Planning for the Use of Video Conferencing for Early Intervention Home Visits during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Larry Edelman)
- Planning for the Use of Video Conferencing for Preschool Special Education and Early Care and Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Larry Edelman)
The following organizations are maintaining their own sets of resources for policymakers and educators:
Alliance for Early Success (AES)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- EDHI Express, May-June 2020 (includes Guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on Newborn Screening During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic)
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA)
Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE)
- Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Webinar
- Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Considerations for Special Education Administrators
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC)
Education Commission of the States (ECS)
- COVID-19 Update: State Policy Responses and Other Executive Actions to the Coronavirus in Public Schools
National Deaf Center (NDC)
National Conference of State Legislatures
National Governors Association (NGA)
National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)
- Resources for Early Childhood Policymakers on Preventing and Preparing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- China ECE Policy Response to COVID-19