May 05, 2020

Wyden Calls for Greater Support for Students With Disabilities in Upcoming COVID-19 Package

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today called for upcoming COVID-19 response legislation to include greater support for students who experience disabilities so school districts can continue providing those students a free and appropriate public education as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

“As we grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, and the resulting school closures, we must meet the needs all students, including students most vulnerable to educational disruptions,” Wyden wrote with 24 of his colleagues in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “To that end, we write to urge you to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief package protects the rights of students who experience disabilities and provides school districts with emergency funding so that educators are able to effectively serve these students during this unprecedented time… While all students are impacted by these unique circumstances, students who experience disabilities often require additional supports and services and face additional educational disruptions resulting from this pandemic.”

The senators discussed the need for additional funding that supports remote learning, as well as helping to ensure that students with an individualized education program (IEP) have the support they need to keep their education on track when schools return to in-person learning. The senators specifically called for funding for early childhood programs, professional development and remote learning technology, as well as significant grants to states.

In addition to Wyden, the letter was signed by Senators Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

A copy of today’s letter is available here.