Aug. 14, 2020 - Special Education Webinar FAQ

  • Here are responses to some questions we received during the Special Education Webinar.

    Health and Safety


    Learning Online

    IEP Teams/Progress Monitoring

    Return to In-Person Instruction 


    Teletherapy/Related Services

    Student Needs

    Compensatory Services

    General Education

    504 Plans


    Webinar Links


    Health and Safety

    What are the specific safety procedures and protocols that staff will be using?

    You will find the WCPSS Return-to-School Guidelines here.

    Will staff members be added to assist with implementing safety protocols?

    Every school will have a school-based COVID19 Coordinator who will ensure that safety protocols, personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing measures, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures meet state guidelines.

    What are the exemptions for wearing face coverings?

    Student Accountability and Required Health Protocols outlines our expectations for students to strictly follow our required health protocols when on our campuses, as well as possible consequences and processes to address non-compliance. Families and students are asked to complete and sign the acknowledgement page and return it to your school, similar to the signature page for the Student Handbook.

    If a student is unable to comply with the face covering requirement, a parent or guardian may request an accommodation for their student that is related to the student’s disability or medical needs. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature of the disability or medical need, the availability of alternative safety measures, and current public health guidance.

    • To request an accommodation, parents or guardians must complete the form and return it, along with supporting documentation, to their school principal. Elementary and middle school families should submit completed accommodation requests by October 23, 2020. High school families have until Dec. 14 to turn in face covering accommodation requests in preparation for second semester.
    • Unless a face covering requirement accommodation request form has been approved, all students are required to adhere to WCPSS Face Covering Requirements. 

    Is it possible for all teachers in plan B who teach students with IEPs and 504 plans to have face masks where their mouths can be seen? This would be very helpful for those students who struggle with focus.

    It is helpful for some of our students to view the full face and lips of teachers. To provide for the safety of staff, regional programs and pre-K teachers will be provided with additional face shields with neck enclosure that will allow the teacher’s face to be seen. Appropriate PPE will be supplied  to all WCPSS staff.

    Why have you not yet secured sufficient PPE?

    There is a nationwide demand for and shortage of PPE. We are securing specific face coverings for Instructional and Related Services Staff who work in Regional Programs.


    Do PreK students need devices?

    All pre-K students will receive devices. Technology will support this effort after Chromebooks for K-12 have been distributed.

    Can Pre-K students enroll in the Virtual Academy?

    No. Because in-person instruction is highly recommended for pre-K children, the Virtual Academy is not being offered to pre-K students. While school buildings are closed, pre-K students will receive services online and may also be provided with other resources to support learning at home.  We will resume in-person instruction once conditions allow us to do so safely. When school buildings re-open, remote learning may continue to be offered under limited circumstances, such as during necessary quarantine periods or for high-risk students.

    How will PreK students in full time daycare receive services and how will teachers progress monitor?

    The teacher and/or service provider and parent will discuss a plan for implementation. Each situation may be unique in the way services are provided. The assessment module will be released by next week with specific guidance on assessment strategies (including progress monitoring.)

    Will Special Education Pre-K students do online learning until they can go to the classroom?

    Yes. Teachers will work with families to develop lessons, resources and activities that are appropriate for children with special needs. You will be able to monitor progress and change instructional practices as needed to achieve the goals and objectives of each student.

    When will children who haven't even been evaluated for preschool be seen? Will they be added on a rolling basis as they get their IEPs?

    Virtual evaluations have begun. A process for in person evaluations requires appropriate PPE and staffing. As soon as those contingencies are met, in person evaluations will begin. Students will be assigned to teacher and service provider rosters, as students become eligible.

    Learning Online

    Is there a new projected date for in classroom learning?

    The plan in which we operate will be based on state and local officials, NCDPI guidance and NCDHHS guidance with respect to the safe reopening of schools. We are working to develop a plan for the return of all students under Plan B, which 

    How and where will our children access instruction on Aug. 17?

    Instruction will be conducted online. A plan will be shared by your child’s school.

    Will IEP services start on Aug. 17? 

    As the district returns to Core Instruction, Special Education Services will be provided and progress monitored. The first two weeks of school will focus on teachers meeting students, orientation and the beginning of instruction.

    How will my student’s special education and related services be delivered in Virtual Academy? 

    Special education students who are also Virtual Academy students will receive Core Instruction, as well as specially designed instruction, accommodations and modifications in an online environment. Each student’s IEP goals and Related Services will be addressed within the school’s individual schedule. School staff will communicate with parents regarding their student’s individual needs and discuss any considerations for changes in order to be implemented in an online setting.

    How long will online instruction take place during the day?

    Consistent daily schedules will include

    • 5-6 hours of instruction/instructional activities daily
    • live instruction (about 2.5 hours daily)
    • recorded sessions

    Students will also have the flexibility to work at their own pace and schedule over the course of the day on some assignments, depending on family needs.

    How will my child’s IEP services be delivered?

    Your student’s IEP goals and service delivery will be reviewed for implementation with your student’s teachers in collaboration with you. Your child’s teachers will communicate how the IEP services will be delivered in the school's established schedule.

    Will there be any recorded classes or is it completely live class for ECS kids?

    Online instruction will include both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) classes. Your child’s teacher will share with you what to expect for both types of instruction.

    Will in-home services be an option?

    No, all students in Plan B Transition will begin the school year with Online Services.

    What is the difference between Plan B transition and Plan C?

    • Daily In-Person Instruction (Plan A) Under this plan, PreK-12 students will attend class in the school building, in person with their teachers and classmates every school day. This environment is the most familiar to students and parents. Students receive daily, in-person instruction and support from school employees.  
    • Blended Instruction (Plan B)  K-12 students will experience a combination of in-person learning in the school building with their teachers and classmates and online instruction through an online platform. Both learning environments will have high expectations and will result in work that contributes to the student’s overall grade. Teachers will strategically place learning opportunities in each environment to create an overall experience that aligns to rigorous state standards for the grade level or course. Experiences during online instruction will be a combination of recorded and live instructional sessions. 
    • Fully-Online Instruction (Plan C)  Under this plan, all students will experience fully-online instruction as a result of school closure based on decisions from state and local officials. All learning opportunities will happen remotely and will include recorded and live instructional sessions. Instruction will be accessed through the use of a technology device.

    Plan B Transition reflects our intention to return to blended instruction as outlined in Plan B as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

    IEP Teams/Progress Monitoring

    When can I request an IEP meeting?

    You may request an IEP meeting at any time to discuss your child’s IEP. A component of that discussion could be the needs your child may have regarding the online environment and the implementation of his/her IEP as written.

    How will you test progress?

    Your child’s special education teacher will collect data during the first three weeks of school which will establish a baseline for where your child is currently performing on his/her IEP goals. The teacher will continue to regularly collect progress monitoring data to measure the growth on IEP goals. Progress monitoring will occur during both online and in person instruction.

    What about students who cannot follow instructions online?

    The IEP team will discuss during the Online Instruction Service and Support Plan meeting which aspects of online instruction worked for the student as well as which aspects were not successful. The IEP team will then discuss supports, including modifications and accommodations for the online environment, which will enable the student to participate in the online environment and make progress on IEP goals.

    How can my child be evaluated to see where she is in her loss of learning from being out of school?

    Your child’s special education teacher will collect data during the first three weeks of school which will establish a baseline for where your child is currently performing on his/her IEP goals. The teacher will continue to regularly collect progress monitoring data to measure the growth on IEP goals. This data will be used in conjunction with data collected prior to school closures and during school closures to determine impact and loss of learning.

    When it is time for IEP renewals, what kind of data is going to be used to develop goals if students have not received enough service due to school closure?

    The IEP team will consider all available data when completing the annual review. This includes data collected prior to and during school closures. During the first three weeks of school for the 2020-21 school year, your child’s special education teacher will collect data which will establish a baseline for where your child is currently performing on his/her IEP goals. The teacher will continue to regularly collect progress monitoring data to measure the growth on IEP goals. Progress monitoring will occur during both online and in person instruction.

    If a family chooses to use a private therapist, can a family use their progress to help develop goals once face to face is back in session?

    The IEP team will continue to consider all available data when completing the annual review and developing goals. Teletherapy with parent consent will be provided to any student with an IEP who requires a related service to access his or her education. Progress monitoring data collected by your school-based therapist will be considered in the development of goals. If additional data is presented to the IEP team, this will also be considered.

    How long should we expect to wait to hear from teachers about modifying IEPs?

    The timeframe for notification will vary based on your child’s unique circumstances. If there is an immediate need, contact your child’s Case Manager/Special Education teacher to schedule a meeting.

    My student is attending the Virtual Academy for the full year, then will go on to high school. Will the temporary IEP and other information from this year (ie. Therapy notes/progress monitoring) be retained with her IEP and educational record?

    Yes, educational records are maintained with the child’s educational file.

    Will we have online or face to face IEP meetings for the school year?

    It is strongly encouraged that IEP meetings continue to be held virtually. In circumstances that require in person meetings, district health and safety guidelines including the use of PPE and social distancing must be followed.

    Return to In-Person Instruction

    Once in-person learning resumes, will students in regional programs be attending on a rotation schedule or full-time?

    We no longer are targeting Sept. 8 as the date for regional programs to return to school buildings. Those students will remain in the Plan B Transition phase along with all other students receiving online instruction full time. As we develop a phase-in plan for staff and the return for students, regional programs will be considered within the total plan.

    Can I replace my child's IEP goals with a homeschooling curriculum?

    Students enrolled in WCPSS in both Plan B and Virtual Academy must participate in instruction as provided by the district.


    Will School Psychologists and other providers be meeting with students at schools to conduct evaluations?

    A team of school psychologists and special education service providers are developing a plan to conduct evaluations in a safe manner while adhering to CDC guidelines. Face to face evaluations will be offered at school and district office sites. If an evaluation is able to be conducted virtually while continuing to maintain the validity of the evaluation, the school psychologist or service provider will discuss this option with you.

    What about students that were in the evaluation process when schools closed?

    Case managers will provide information to resume the evaluations when safety guidelines can be met.

    When will in-person evaluations begin?

    Further guidance will be provided to schools when they should begin evaluations as proper PPE and safety and health guidelines can be met by the evaluation team. Parents will be contacted by their case managers to schedule evaluations.

    What is the first step to get the IEP evaluation and plan?

    Parents who suspect their student may have a disability should communicate this to their child’s teacher and/or principal.

    Teletherapy/Related Services

    When will teletherapy (ie: speech services) resume?

    The related services therapist will contact parents to discuss teletherapy services and develop a schedule to provide services. Teletherapists will:

    • Contact the parent via telephone or email to discuss a plan to provide teletherapy services and to answer your questions.
    • Review the plan and confirm the day and time for services.
    • Make a request for the parent or caregiver to provide support to the student during the teletherapy session.
    • Review the E-Helper Document to partner with families. Link: Caregivers as E-Helpers for Teletherapy
    • Review the Written Consent Form.
    • Provide support for the family with access to the WCPSS student portal and G-Suite for therapy.

    How do you request teletherapy?  Does that have to be part of the IEP already?  Is Teletherapy required for all students with an IEP?

    Teletherapy services are a provision of specially designed instruction for students with IEPs. Teletherapy services are based on the individual needs of the student as determined by the IEP team. These services are more structured that services provided in Remote Learning in the Spring.

    What is the plan for providing 1:1 therapy?

    With the return to Core Instruction, special education students will receive special education services as per their IEPs. lf a student’s IEP cannot be implemented as written due to the online learning environment, an Online Instruction Support Services Plan will be drafted to document how a student’s IEP goals will be met during online instruction.

    Is Teletherapy recommended for all Special Ed students?

    Teletherapy services are based on the individual needs of the student as determined by the IEP team.

    Will teletherapy occur during office hours or will the schedule be arranged by the therapist/student schedule?

    The schedule will be arranged by the therapist in collaboration with the classroom teacher(s) based on the student’s daily schedule.

    How does confidentiality work for group speech therapy? Is there consent for group therapy?

    Parents will be asked to sign a consent form indicating their agreement to teletherapy services. The Written Consent form will also contain other important information related to confidentiality. Preparing Parents for Teletherapy

    If a child is not able to engage with their therapist virtually what are the next steps?

    An IEP team will convene to  discuss and develop in collaboration with parents anOnline Instruction Support Services Plan meeting to determine how the student can be supported during online instruction.

    Will Teletherapy be the only form of Progress Monitoring to reflect students' behavior/performance in all classes?

    Teletherapy Progress Monitoring will focus specifically on the goals that are being addressed by the specific related service(s) that the student is receiving. When appropriate, therapists will continue to collaborate with classroom teachers to gain feedback regarding student performance across settings. The therapist will us pictures, uploaded work samples, parent report, and available teacher data are measurements of progress monitoring.

    How often will parents have access to the Therapist's notes and in what format?

    Parents may ask for a copy of therapy notes at any time. Parents will also receive progress reports that are provided at the same interval as the district reports student grades.

    Student Needs

    What is your plan for students with IEPs who require full time adult supervision?

    Students will need varying levels of support in online instruction. Some students with IEPs require closer supervision and assistance. This might come from a parent, guardian, or other responsible person in the student’s support system. Accommodations/modifications may be needed to provide additional support. Contact your child’s Case Manager/Special Education Teacher to schedule a meeting.

    How will students be served who cannot learn online?

    The IEP team will convene to discuss in collaboration an Online Instruction Support Services Plan to determine how the student can be supported during online instruction.

    My child has autism and has a hard time focusing.Will that be taken into consideration in virtual academy?

    Your child’s special education teacher will contact you with respect to how your child’s IEP will be implemented in the online environment. Please share your concerns with the teacher so that those concerns can be addressed.

    When will I be notified of the modified daily schedule for students with IEP?

    Your child’s school or teacher will contact you with respect to your child’s schedule. If you have questions or concerns about the schedule, please share those with your child’s teacher.

    For those students who need social interaction in order to meet their emotional and social growth and development, or who have social components as part of their IEP, how is that going to be addressed in a complete online environment?

    Your child’s teacher will contact you with respect to what learning will look like in the online environment.  Please share your concerns with the teacher so that those concerns can be addressed.

    Multiple online platforms were a distraction for my child in the spring. What is being done about that in the 2020-21 school year?

    There are two approved platforms for online instruction for 2020-21. Teachers will use either Canvas or Google Classroom for instruction and assignments.

    Compensatory Services

    Will compensatory services be given for students who cannot learn via online education?

    Most goals can and should be addressed in an online environment. If the IEP team determines there is a goal(s) that as written cannot be addressed in the online environment, the IEP team will discuss whether the goal(s) can be modified to be addressed in both online and in person environments. If the IEP team determines a goal cannot be addressed and cannot be modified for both the online and in person environments, the team will document this on the Online Instruction Support and Service Plan. The IEP team will also need to consider whether that goal is needed during online instruction. If the goal is not needed during online instruction then there is no need for compensatory services. If the goal is needed and cannot be modified for the online environment, a determination regarding the frequency and amount of recovery services required for that goal will be made after in person instruction resumes.

    Will you offer summer school to more students to make up for lost instruction?

    Recovery services will be determined on a case by case basis once a measure of learning loss has been established. Decisions have not been made as to how and when those services will be provided.

    General Education

    Will all students with IEPs receive organizational packets from their schools for bridge materials, pacing guides, and daily schedules?

    Schools will provide dates and times from material pick up.

    Will students receive grades within the first two "orientation" weeks?

    The first two weeks of school  for all students will focus on orientation, meet and greet opportunities, the  distribution of supplies and beginning instruction. Your student’s teacher can provide specifics of their class.

    How will parents/guardians be notified regarding their child's/children's case manager

    Case Managers/Special Education teachers will contact Parents at the start of school.

    Our special education teachers were waiting for your guidance in the spring. Now you are telling us to contact them with questions. Do they have more specific guidance now?

    All teachers, including special education teachers, have received additional training and guidance with respect to how we will operate and what schooling will look like both online and face-to-face for the 2020-21 school year.

    504 Plans

    How will 504 plans be implemented online?

    Please contact your school’s 504 Coordinator to discuss your concerns.


    How will special transportation vehicles be cleaned and disinfected?

    Vehicles will be treated with an approved disinfectant between each run.

    How will special transportation handle sick kids?

    All students must pass a school bus health screening as per these guidelines: Health Screenings.

    Guidelines for student illness are found here: Return to Campus Guidelines

    Webinar Links

    How can I access links referenced in the webinar?

    All links are now included in the YouTube video description.


    I will need childcare. What are my options?

    The WCPSS Special Board Meeting held July 21 provided information that Wake County continues to seek out child care options for families with that need. We invite you to complete this brief childcare needs survey.

    WCPSS continues to seek out child care options for families with child care needs. The district will communicate those options when they become available.