Republican Congressmen want to investigate how special education students are affected by pandemic school closings. (Shutterstock)
Nearly a year after schools were shut down nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, some members of Congress are calling for an investigation into the impact of the closings on students with disabilities.
Four Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives said Monday they wanted a bipartisan investigation into the impact of the closings on children with disabilities, as well as federal and local compliance with federal law on special education.
“Students with disabilities are falling behind. States and localities do not even meet the minimum requirements. We are hearing from parents in the US whose children with disabilities are the most exposed as schools remain closed, ”stated a letter from Reps Steve Scalise, R-La., James Comer, R-Ky., Virginia Foxx, RN. C. and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
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Correspondence was sent to Honors Frank Pallone, DN.J., James Clyburn, DS.C., Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., Who all chair the principal committees of the House.
The letter recovers the experiences of three families of students with autism and Down syndrome who struggled with access to adequate services for their children during the pandemic, and highlights research that suggests schools can reopen safely.
“The science is clear – it’s safe to reopen schools. Getting all children back into full-time education, especially those with special needs and disabilities, must be a non-partisan priority. If states or municipalities violate federal civil rights laws to the detriment of students, they must be investigated and their actions corrected, ”wrote the Republicans.
Legislators said they were concerned that students with special needs are not receiving services and the impact that could have on their mental health. They note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines indicate that a lack of personal schooling can “disadvantage” people with disabilities.
“We are requesting a bipartisan prudential request to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide data on experiences of reopened special schools or students attending the school in person,” the letter said. “In addition, the CDC and NIH should provide studies on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with disabilities in the US and other countries.”
Scott, the Democrat who chairs the House’s Education and Labor Committee, is “equally concerned about the impact of the pandemic on students with disabilities,” according to an aide.
“Because of this, the chairman supports the US rescue plan, which will invest nearly $ 130 billion in the safe reopening of schools, including $ 3 billion in new funding for the Disability Education Act,” said the aide make its way through Congress referring to a COVID-19 relief package. “If Republicans want to support students with disabilities, they should vote for the American bailout plan.”