Students with disabilities who may have "aged out" of an education program due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have a renewed chance beginning in September to finish their school work under a law approved earlier this year.
The measure, backed by state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, is meant to help students complete their Individualized Education Prgoram or continue their education until turning 23 years of age.
The law is meant to help students who have lost a year of education when the pandemic closed schools and made it difficult for them to complete their coursework through remote learning or online lessons.
Starting in September, the students with disabilities who turned 21 can enroll in the 2022-23 school year to complete their education. The measure includes students who are hearing or vision impaired, students who have multiple disabilities and those students who cannot use a computer independently.
The individualized student plans are meant to be unique to each person and outline services and supports based on speech, visual or hearing needs. Many of these programs could not be conducted online or through remote learning.
“We must do everything possible, individually and collectively, to ensure our most vulnerable students are not left behind and given the support and opportunities they deserve despite these challenging times,” Santabarbara said. “Although most schools adapted to online education during the pandemic, many special education students were unable to engage in remote learning or to adapt to online lessons. For some it meant losing the last year of education they were entitled to.” Santabarbara added, “As back-to-school season approaches, it is important to note this adjustment for this upcoming school year to help ensure every student has the opportunity to learn and complete their education.”