Supporting Your Child During Distance Learning

Supporting Your Child During Distance Learning

Family Resource Center



  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) and basic rights are still in place during Distance Learning.

  • New Law, SB98: Outlines new distance learning standards for those with IEP’s and 504’s. Requires a new section to be included in the IEP & 504’s describing how special education and related services, supplementary aids and services, transition and extended school year services will be provided during an emergency (such as the current health emergency with COVID, including fires, earthquakes, etc.)

    • Must be included in all new IEPS and added to ALL existing IEPS no later than the next scheduled IEP meeting

    • This emergency plan must go into effect when the school and/or required services aren’t available for more than 10 school days

    • The plan is created by the IEP team – ALWAYS includes the parent

    • Link to legal info on CA Department of Education site,

  • Recently announced: California Approves Onsight Instruction for children with ACUTE disability needs. However, exceptions will apply to districts in counties on coronavirus monitoring lists. As of 9/2/2020, this includes San Mateo County.


  • Contact your child’s IEP case manager and/or team (teacher, principal, therapists, para’s, etc) to discuss changes in IEP goals, objectives, modifications, etc, while distant learning.

  • Consider contacting your special education dept within your school district if you do not hear from your case manager or teacher.

  • If you don’t already have one, create an IEP binder and keep copies of all communication with school and district. Don’t rely on phone calls and verbal agreements, if you do follow up with email, keep copies of all correspondence.

  • Make sure you have copy of latest IEP, if not ask for copy from your school district or teacher (if your child is in SDC class).

  • Ensure you are receiving progress updates.

  • Ask you case manager or teacher about keeping in regular communication while distance learning (sample log here, or find out what works best for you and your child’s teacher.

  • Discuss what worked or didn’t work while distance learning this past spring or summer, did your child regress?

  • Did you observe and make notes of present levels (academic, speech, OT, social, behavior) past spring or summer?

  • Keep a journal of what is working and what’s not working.

  • Consider taking videos of your child to document what’s working or not.

  • Do you think learning loss is taking place, if so contact case manager or teacher immediately.


  • Local San Mateo LEA is SELPA and can be found here, mateo-county-selpa/

  • List of school districts in San Mateo County,

  • LEA’s (Local Education Area) must develop a “Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan”

    • Plan must include addressing gaps in learning;

    • conducting meaningful stakeholder engagement;

    • maintaining transparency;

    • addressing the needs of students with unique needs, and students experiencing homelessness;

    • providing access to necessary devices and connectivity for distance learning;

    • providing resources and supports to address student and staff mental health and social emotional well-being;

    • and continuing to provide school meals for students

    • LEA must consult with various stakeholders, including parents and students, in developing its Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan

    • The LEA must complete their plan by 9/30

  • Distance Learning Requirements include:

    • Daily Live interaction required

    • Taking student attendance

    • Minimum instruction

      • 3 hours per day for kindergartners

      • 3 hours, 50 mins for grades 1-3

      • 4 hours for grades 4-12

    • Serving students in need (special education)

    • No set requirements for live instruction

    • Preventing disengagement

    • Checking families’ connectivity

    • Weekly engagement records

    • Replacing accountability plans



  • Self Care: Be gentle with yourself

  • Be patient and give yourself grace, we are all in uncertain times and uncharted territory

  • Ask for help when you need it

  • Consider the health and connection of your family, think outside the IEP

  • Join a local parent support group

  • Practice flexibility

  • Contact the Family Resource Center at AbilityPath for support,, or call our warmline,


  • Virtual meeting strategies, tips and resources,,