As Schools Close Due To Covid-19 Pandemic, Shaheen & Hassan Relay Concerns for Children with Disabilities to Department Of Education

March 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and their colleagues expressing concern for children with disabilities amid the school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In their letter to the U.S. Department of Education Deputy Assistance Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Mark Schultz, the Senators pressed the Department on what they’re doing to ensure that children with disabilities are provided a free and appropriate public education and educators, administrators and lead agencies are provided with the guidance necessary to carry out their legal obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“The impact of these closures has a significant impact on children with disabilities and presents unique challenges to school officials to meet the legal requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” the Senators wrote.

The Senators continued: “Assisting states and districts to navigate their obligations to meet the legal requirements of students’ individualized education plans (IEPs) and individualized family service plans (IFSP) for infants and toddlers with disabilities will be critical during this national public health emergency.”

A full text of the letter can be found here.

Shaheen and Hassan have fought for and voted in favor of two economic response bills to provide financial relief to states in their response efforts, and to support workers, businesses and families impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. The President signed both bills into law. The first economic package led to New Hampshire receiving an initial $4.9 million in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Shaheen is currently a lead negotiator on a third economic response bill, where she is working around the clock with Senators Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD) and Collins (R-ME) on provisions to assist small businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis.