All students in Kindergarten to Grade 8, including those with special education needs, will have the option to attend school five days a week, in-person. Secondary students in some Special Education classes will also have the option to attend school in-person full day, five days a week.
Use the below chart to determine if your child qualifies for in-person learning every day.
Supporting students with special education needs
Staff are supporting the safe return of medically fragile students by consulting with Peel Public Health on options for personal protective equipment, staff training, and potential continued remote learning where return is not possible.
Updated information about special education supports will be shared with families, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Alternately, parents and caregivers can contact school staff for site specific questions about Special Education programming.
Remote Special Education support
For students who engage in at-home learning through the board’s PDSB Online School
, Special Education programming will continue to be offered.
Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
PDSB Online School
Educators will continue to provide accommodations, modified expectations, and alternative programming to students with Special Education needs, as detailed in IEPs. They will have access to student records and previous IEPs to facilitate the development of effective programming and an IEP for the current year. Students who require Educational Assistant (EA) support will receive it to help facilitate the programming outlined in the IEP.
PSSP (psychology, Speech and Language, Social Work) and itinerant support
These supports will continue to be available to students.
Special Education classes (i.e. Developmentally Delayed, Autism Spectrum Disorder, etc.)
If we have a viable number of students to form a specialized education program, we will do so, taught by a qualified Peel board teacher. Where possible, students will be placed in a common cohort for program delivery. Where this is not possible, we will continue to meet the student's needs through synchronous learning in their online classroom, reaching out to other Peel board support staff for additional guidance and support.
In-School Support Services at the elementary level and GLE classes at the secondary level will be offered.
ISRC and IPRCs
In-School Review Committee (ISRC) and Identification and Placement Review Committee (IPRC) will be available to support the programming and well-being of students. For PDSB Online School
students who are in special education classes, their placement from the IPRC process will be held for the child.
In School Support Program (ISSP)
In-school Support Programs at our elementary schools will continue to serve students with learning needs. This will be mostly done through an integrated model where the In-school Support Teacher will come into homeroom classes to offer support. In some specific circumstances, identified students may go to a resource room for additional support. In these cases students will be serviced individually or in small groups from their identified cohort.
Assistive technology and support
Guidance related to assistive technology will be provided directly to families of students requiring this accommodation. Staff are working with community partners and local agencies to develop local protocols for the access of non-school-based providers, including occupational therapists and nursing staff.
Health and safety
Ensuring a safe working environment for staff and a safe environment for learning for students with special education needs remains paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many students, physical distancing will not be possible and therefore additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be necessary to support exceptional learners. PPE such as gowns, face masks, face shields etc. will need to be worn by staff in addition to existing PPE for staff protection, such as shin and wrist guards.
Educational Assistants (EAs) will clean sensory toys, gross motor equipment and learning materials at the end of each day. Students or staff who enter a room from another location (e.g. washroom, office, etc.) must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to entering. Parents/guardians are asked to review and practice handwashing at home, to the degree possible, and to consult with their child’s EA if they have any concerns about their child’s health and safety, once schools reopen.
Transportation of students with special education needs is outlined in the
Transportation section of this resource.
Programming (IEPs, sensory equipment, ALEs, Plans of Care, etc.)
A variety of our programming needs and processes have been updated for teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include: Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Positive Behaviour Intervention Plans (PBIPs), Safety Plans, Alternative Learning Environments (ALEs), sensory rooms and the use of learning materials, and Plans of Care.
Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
IEPs will continue to be developed as per our regular practice; however, there will be some adjustments to address the realities of programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Strategies to modify IEPs during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- IEPs will reflect both in school and distance learning education goals, recognizing that some families may choose to keep their identified student at home
- The Parent Survey sent each Fall will be altered to address distance learning
Positive Behaviour Intervention Plans (PBIPs) and Safety Plans
PBIPs and Safety Plans during the COVID-19 pandemic will take into account safe access to alternative locations and a plan to minimize contact with others in the school. Some students may be supported through other processes that are available to support student needs, e.g. Student protocol, Suicide Safety Plan, Coping Plan.
Alternative Learning Environments (ALEs)
School staff will limit the use of these common spaces as much as possible and be prepared for these spaces to be unavailable if cleaning cannot be completed between student use:
- De-escalation Room/Calming Rooms: These will continue to be used as outlined in the safety plans developed for students. The rooms will be cleaned nightly. If a site has multiple students who use a de-escalation room daily, additional custodial staff will be available to ensure the room and padding is cleaned between students.
- Sensory Rooms: It may not be possible to use sensory rooms due to the soft materials, padding, etc. It is recommended, where possible, that sensory equipment be assigned to individual students according to their needs rather than sharing common materials.
- Gross Motor Areas: Gross motor equipment should be cleaned according to health and safety guidelines between different students using the equipment. Group gross motor toys that create significant challenges for sanitizing, such as ball pits, peapods and bean bag chairs should not be used during the pandemic.
- Sensory Toys and Learning Materials: EAs will have a key role in keeping materials safe for students. It is recommended, where possible, that sensory toys and learning materials be assigned to individual students, labelled and stored accordingly. When this is not possible, these instructional materials need to be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water and in accordance with the health and safety guidelines.
Plans of Care
Plans of Care will be rolled over automatically from last school year to 2020-21, and will be updated if there are changes in medical interventions, medication or seizure protocols.
Administration of prescribed medication forms will continue to need a doctor’s signature for students who require medication at school.
Use of Learning Spaces (Contact Rooms, In School Support Rooms, etc.)
With modified processes at elementary schools, students with specific needs may have access to In School Support Classrooms or Responsibility Rooms. Physical distancing must be maintained in these spaces. Students may come to these spaces individually or as a small group from the same cohort. Students must wash or sanitize their hands before entering the space.
With modified processes at secondary schools, students with specific needs may have access to Contact Rooms. Physical distancing must be maintained. Efforts to minimize contact with other students when possible should be considered. Students must wash or sanitize their hands before entering.
Working with community partners
We recognize the important role our community partners have in supporting Special Education learners, including personnel from the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Erin Oak, Peel Children’s Centre (PCC), mental health nurses, etc.
School visits from outside agencies that come into schools regularly will follow board protocols upon entering school and board sites. School visits from outside agencies that do not regularly attend schools will be assessed by administrators, in consultation with families, to determine if the visit is essential.
Last updated: Aug. 13, 2020