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Education Rights Still in Force During Pandemic

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Even with schools closed, the law says all students should have access to the educational services they need. (GAYSORN/Adobe Stock)
Even with schools closed, the law says all students should have access to the educational services they need. (GAYSORN/Adobe Stock)
 By Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA - Producer, Contact
May 22, 2020

PHILADELPHIA - A new series of fliers is available to help inform parents and children about their rights to educational services while schools are closed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

School buildings may be closed, but all children in Pennsylvania still are entitled to a quality public education. The first of five fliers lists five basic things to know about educational rights, from access to free meals to support for online learning.

And Sophia Tan, a public interest law fellow with the Education Law Center says additional fliers provide information for particular groups of students who've been historically underserved by schools.

"These include students with disabilities, students in foster care, students experiencing homelessness as well as English learners," says Tan.

The fliers can be found on the Education Law Center's website at 'ELC-PA.org/COVID-19.'

Tan points out that schools must still create temporary learning plans for students with disabilities, and students in foster care should still be able to reach out to the designated point of contact at their school.

"Schools are also encouraged to reach out to all of their students as much as possible," says Tan. "To ensure that they're maintaining contact, making sure that students are safe and have the information and resources available."

She adds that schools also are required to make information available to parents and students in their preferred language.

And Tan notes that schools need to help students who are nearing the end of their high school years plan for the future.

"Students who are getting ready to graduate during this critical period are entitled to receive guidance and resources if they're pursuing post-secondary education or seeking a career," says Tan.

She says families and students need to be aware that they should keep engaging with their schools during the shutdown, to ensure that their educational needs are being met.

Disclosure: Education Law Center contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Disabilities, Education, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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