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Answer to FAQs: Attendance of Students with Disabilities

Is a school district required to transport students with disabilities to out-of-district settings if offering a Flexible Instructional Day program (FIDs) or having a Virtual Snow Day?

Local education agencies (LEAs) are still required to ensure students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) during FIDs or Virtual Snow Days. If the roads are too hazardous to transport students to their out-of-district setting, the LEA will need to ensure FAPE can be delivered in an alternate learning mode or make alternative arrangements to provide FAPE at another time.

How should LEAs support students with disabilities that are not attending school (whether it be virtual or brick and mortar instruction) during the Pandemic?

LEAs must determine whether a child is truant or chronically absent due to a disability or a medical condition and should consider addressing this topic in their attendance policies. A student who is truant or chronically absent for disability-related or health-related reasons may be eligible for protections under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504.

If a student with a disability is truant or chronically absent, the LEA should convene the student's individualized education program (IEP) team or 504 team to determine whether revisions to the student's IEP or 504 plan are necessary or appropriate. In those instances, the administrator responsible for handling truancy-related matters should be a participating member of the IEP or 504 team process. A student with a disability who is truant or chronically absent for health-related reasons must still produce a valid excuse for any absence, which may include a written excuse from a physician. However, LEAs must recognize that students' disabilities may present unique circumstances that might require consideration of other statutory or regulatory provisions. That is, students' rights, such as those provided under IDEA and Section 504, may require the LEA to otherwise diverge from its general attendance policy in order to ensure that all students with a disability are provided FAPE.