LEAs have responsibilities for ‘long COVID’ students
August 23, 2021
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest
Share via email
On July 26, 2021, the Office for Civil Rights and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued guidance regarding “long COVID” according to a recent update from attorneys at AALRR.
In accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, OCR and OSERS defined long COVID in the guidance as “another term for post-COVID conditions” which “are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The guidance indicates that individuals experiencing long COVID could have any number of symptoms. For example, such symptoms could include but not necessarily be limited to, tiredness, difficulty thinking or concentrating (i.e., “brain fog”), headaches, difficulty breathing, sleep problems, changes in smell or taste, cough, mood changes, etc.
The purpose of the July 26, 2021 guidance is to remind LEAs that if a student within their jurisdiction is experiencing long COVID, the LEA must consider whether it has child find and evaluation responsibilities under Section 504 and/or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.
The guidance specifically identifies “other health impairment” as one category under which a student experiencing long COVID could potentially qualify under the IDEIA. However, it is important to remember that an Individualized Education Program team must make this determination after a comprehensive evaluation and IEP team discussion.
With respect to Section 504, to be eligible for a free appropriate public education (FAPE), a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures.
For example, a Section 504 team could determine that a student diagnosed with migraines as a symptom of long COVID has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the student’s major life activity of concentration, without regard to the ameliorative effects of a prescribed migraine medication.
Read the full brief from AALRR on ACSA's Resource Hub.
Contact Us
© 2021 Association of California School Administrators