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Melissa E. Mendoza, Timothy F. Brewer, Matthew S. Smith et al., Lessons from United States school district policies and approaches to special education during the COVID-19 pandemic, In'tl J. Inclusive Educ. (2022).

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many school districts in countries around the world transitioning rapidly to partial or complete remote learning. These disruptions affected all children’s education, but students with disabilities (SWDs) were particularly at-risk because of the challenges of providing accessible support and services through remote teaching programmes. We examine the experience of SWDs in 24 United States school districts of instructional and adaptation models between August 2020 and February 2021. Districts varied in their approaches to remote instruction, compensatory services and prioritising SWDs for returning to the classroom before other students. Districts also varied substantially in the information provided regarding Distance Learning Plans, changes to Individualised Education Programmes and related service delivery. This analysis underscores the need for minimal standards for meeting the educational needs of SWDs during school closures as well as for disseminating good practices on minimising the effects of disruptions in future public health crises. These results have implications for existing practices and future research in the U.S. and other countries with widely disseminated decision making surrounding educational delivery during crises.