On Friday, June 5, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.37 (the “Order”), which addresses special education during the summer of 2020. The Order states:
“Notwithstanding any prior Executive Order to the contrary, special education services and instruction required under Federal, state or local laws, rules, or regulations, may be provided in person for the summer term in school districts. Any district providing such services in person must follow State and Federal guidance.”
What does this mean? What is its likely impact on New York charter schools?
- The rule allows districts to provide special education services and instruction to students in-person this summer.
- It does not require any particular services or instruction to be provided in-person.
- It does not say what “in-person” means in this context (it could mean at the school where a student is enrolled, or another school, or at some other location).
- It does not mention nor impose any explicit obligation on charter schools.
- Because charter schools in New York are part of the district Local Education Agency (LEA) for purposes of special education, it is possible that a district opting to allow in-person special education services and instruction this summer could allow charter schools to do so as well.
It is important to note that the Order also states that any district providing such services must follow State and Federal guidance. Recent federal guidance has made it clear that districts and schools have the discretion to determine which special education services can be provided during COVID-19 school building closures and which should be deferred as compensatory educational services until circumstances allow them to resume.
The State may provide clarification of the Order in the coming days. Charter schools should look for any such guidance. We will provide updates and analysis as needed. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.