Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 25

FEATURE
At the same time, Rollin says the focus on
waiving schools' statutory obligations draws
energy and focus away from the children
impacted. She believes schools should be
committed to communicating with the parents
to form strategies that can minimize setbacks
for children with disabilities. "If therapy is part
of the services, instruction can take place virtually. Parents can receive training in order to
reduce the loss. School districts should be
asking themselves how they can use the
parent-school partnership to get the best
results for students."

TEMPORARY SENSE OF RELIEF
The CARES Act memo delivered by DeVos in
April did not eviscerate the IDEA as some
feared it would. The waiver of some procedural
items and a clause relating to the timing of
toddler assessment was recommended, but
disability rights groups breathed a collective
sigh of relief that the law's protections were
virtually undisturbed.
Rollin says that her sense of relief was shortlived. "It was a pleasant surprise, but it doesn't
mean that we're out of the woods." She sees
a treacherous landscape ahead in which hardwon advances might suddenly be stripped
away.
DeVos's letter was simply advisory. Congress is
ultimately authorized to determine whether
the law should be amended, suspended, or
otherwise altered. The National Association of
State Directors of Special Education and the
Council of Administrators of Special Education
continue to seek a temporary waiver of the
law's deadlines, data collection obligations,
parent meetings, and other requirements.
Rollin is concerned that these organizations,
along with the School Superintendents
Association (AASA), will continue their fight
while advocacy groups take a moment to
collect themselves.

and right now no significant waivers exist.
D.C. schools, he says, are working hard to do
as much as they can for students.
"We're all confronting the circumstances
around the crisis, and once it has passed, all
students will have to catch up," says Barash.
"We're dealing with a pandemic . . . and we
have to focus on a recovery period for all
students."
Rollin hopes that advocacy can continue to
direct attention to the needs of students with
disabilities. She sees demand for a renewed
investment in our educational system. "The
government needs to allocate the money, and
schools will need to review their individual
assessments to determine whether summer
classes, extended days, or some other system
can make up for the learning loss," she says.
"Getting resources out both during the crisis,
to the extent possible, and afterward will be
necessary. It's not a question of whether; it's
when and how much."
As schools discuss their plans for reopening,
Rollin sees a continuation of the challenges and
uncertainty faced by students with disabilities.
"Since there is no scenario in which schools
can reopen safely full-time for all students in
person, many of the challenges that schools
faced during the spring closure will [come up]
again, and hopefully, with more time to plan,

will be faced more effectively for students with
disabilities and all students."
Meanwhile, Keehan isn't terribly concerned
about academics. Her son is an excellent
independent learner, and his grades have never
been an issue. Even if he fell behind a bit due
to disruptions, it wouldn't be much of a
problem, Keehan says. Her son's difficulties
with socialization are more problematic,
though. His psychiatrist has said that although
it's easy enough to catch up on schoolwork,
social development can be much more
complicated to address at a later stage.
"They say that mental well-being is first, that
it's the hardest thing to fix. Overall, my son's
mental health is good, but he's not interacting
with kids or other adults. I'm concerned that
any ground we made can be lost," she says.
Keehan's undergraduate degree in education
and the advice of friends with disabilities have
helped keep her grounded and cognizant of
the challenges faced by schools. "It's hard on
everybody. We all have to be patient," she says.
She also acknowledges that her son's needs
aren't as extensive as some others, and that
patience has its limits. "Maybe in the fall we'll
feel different."
Reach D.C. Bar staff writer Jeremy W. Conrad, Esq.
at JConrad@dcbar.org.

JEST IS FOR ALL

"The AASA and some other school leadership
groups are still passionate about getting some
waivers of core protections for kids with disabilities," says Rollin. "One thing I'm concerned
about with DeVos not giving recommendations is that advocacy groups may take a
breather and leave room for the AASA to go
crazy on the Hill."
Barash of DCPS points out that the Department
of Education did not recommend submitting
waivers for the IDEA. He says there's been a lot
of advocacy to make sure there aren't waivers,

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 25



Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
ABA Delegates Corner
Calendar of Events
Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
The New Normal in Legal Education feature
On Shaky Ground feature
How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The New Normal in Legal Education feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Shaky Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover4
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