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Special Education and ELS (COVID)

Every child, adolescent, and young adult with a disability is entitled to a free and appropriate education and is entitled to special education services based on their individualized education program (IEP). In order for students to benefit academically, socially, and emotionally, there must exist for all students with disabilities a rich variety of early intervention, educational and vocational program options and experiences based on individual educational needs and desired outcomes. Students receiving special education services may be more negatively affected by distance-learning and may be disproportionately impacted by interruptions in general education. Allowing students with disabilities the option to attend school every day, while adhering to the necessary health and safety guidelines, minimizes the potential impact that distance learning may have on them. The district recognizes that it may not be feasible, depending on the health and safety needs of the individual, for all students to attend onsite learning. Therefore, meeting the needs of the individual child on a case-by-case basis remains a priority.

As stated in DESE guidelines for the reopening of our schools, English learners, particularly at lower and intermediate levels of English proficiency, are a high-needs group that will benefit significantly from being able to access in-person instruction five days a week. Their in-person learning will require both explicit English language development instruction as well as content-area instruction in the SEI classroom. Without the ability to access daily in-person instruction, English learners’ acquisition of English as well as general curricula may be impeded, especially if there are no English-proficient adults in the home to support their remote learning. Certainly, the district will work with individual families to best meet the needs of each English learner.

Given these beliefs, the Hopkinton Public Schools has invited EVERY student on an IEP, EL students at WIDA levels 1-3, and EVERY student who qualifies for free and reduced lunch to attend school every day. In addition to these students are select elementary students whose reading proficiency is significantly below grade level.