• NJ Department of Education

    General Information

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    Special Education

    Student Accommodations

    Home instruction/services shall be consistent with the student’s Individualized Education Plan Program (IEP) to the most appropriate extent possible. Districts should talk to parents, who are key members of the IEP team, and help them consider how they may best ensure that students with disabilities have the necessary supports, including medical supports, in place during a public health-related school closure. Consultation with the parents should explore how students with disabilities will gain equitable access to home instruction.

    This is a temporary situation, and districts must offer special education services to the most appropriate extent possible while students are away from their schools/programs. IEP teams may need to consider compensatory services when students return to school and IEPs may need to be adjusted accordingly. The IEP team should determine the amount of compensatory related services students with IEPs may require, on a case-by-case basis, when school resumes.

    For further information, please refer to the Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak.

    Responsibilities for Ensuring Services

    Each district should update contact information for every out-of-district placement where one or more of their students with disabilities attends and maintain regular communication during school closures. This includes in-state and out-of-state approved private schools for students with disabilities, county educational services commissions, jointure commissions, special services school districts, Naples placements, regional day schools, the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf and other school districts.

    It is the responsibility of the sending district to ensure students with disabilities attending out-of-district placements are provided with instruction during school closures consistent with the student’s IEP to the greatest extent possible. Districts are encouraged to consult with the student’s school of attendance regarding the nature and delivery of instruction.

    Students in out-of-state residential schools may remain in those placements; however, if they will come home during the time of the closure, the local health agency should be contacted for guidance regarding their return to school. Decisions regarding attendance for students educated outside of the district should be made on an individual district basis. If an out-of-district placement remains open while a student’s resident district is required to close, and it is determined that the student will not attend school, the home instruction guidance to the resident district applies to that student if he or she does not attend school. The provision of home instruction should be determined in consultation with the receiving school. Ultimately, it is the sending district’s responsibility to ensure home instruction is provided.

    Auxiliary & Remedial services to Students Enrolled in Nonpublic Schools

    Districts should consult with their contracted service providers and their nonpublic schools in developing a plan to provide services to students consistent with each student’s individual service plan.

    Food Services

    Assessments

    The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has notified states that it will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing relief from federally mandated testing, accountability, and reporting requirements for this school year. With students unable to attend school due to the COVID-19-related closures, it is not feasible to move forward with statewide testing. As such, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has applied for the waiver and the USDE has granted approval of the waiver. Therefore, New Jersey will not be required to administer a statewide assessment for federal accountability purposes.

    Cancellation of Statewide Student Assessment

    Given the continued threat of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our school communities and the resulting school closures, Governor Phil Murphy has announced that the State of New Jersey is cancelling all statewide student assessments for the spring 2020 testing window. This includes the springtime administration of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA), ACCESS for ELLs, and the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessment.

    Graduation Options

    Cancellation of statewide assessments will not prevent students from meeting their graduation assessment requirements. The NJDOE continues to process portfolio appeals for the small percentage of current seniors who have not yet met their graduation assessment requirement.

    Current juniors and sophomores also have access to the menu of alternate assessments (the SAT, etc.) and the portfolio appeal process as pathways to complete their graduation assessment requirement. These students are not required to take the NJSLA to access the menu of alternate assessments or the portfolio appeal process.

    The NJDOE intends to make the NJSLA available in the summer or fall for current high school freshman, sophomores, and juniors (and middle school students taking high-school level courses) who may want to use the NJSLA high school assessments to meet their graduation assessment requirements.

    Contact Information

    We acknowledge that cancelling statewide assessments will impact various aspects of education, including educator evaluations and certification, and school and district accountability. We recognize educators, students, and families will have questions. We are working to mitigate any unintended consequences, and we will work through multiple channels to keep stakeholders fully informed of updated guidance and other changes.

    We look forward to working with school districts through this unprecedented period. For questions or comments, please contact the NJDOE at assessment@doe.nj.gov