Where are the IEPs two years after the start of COVID?
There is no doubt that every student has lost valuable in-person school time over the past two school years. But students with IEPs have faced additional challenges keeping pace during distance or blended learning.
Now that students are generally back in their school buildings, educators are preparing for the usual IEP exams and progress reports. However, they’re likely juggling a workload that includes students who weren’t able to earn IEPs during remote learning, not to mention a backlog of new IEP credentials that accumulated while our students were doing the transition between in-person, remote and hybrid situations.
The fallout from the past two years includes students who have not had in-person instruction for 12 to 18 months and special education teachers who have not been able to work face-to-face with many of their students. We have also seen teacher shortages increase, with many retiring or switching to other careers due to stress, or having to quarantine as new strains of COVID emerge. The combination of these factors makes it difficult to keep up with a workload under normal circumstances, which adds to everyone’s frustration.
To complicate matters further, IEP meetings take place via Zoom or Google Hangouts, use sometimes unreliable internet connections and the need for increased parental involvement, which is not always possible.