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DeVos Declines To Waive Education Disability Law Amid Pandemic

The Education Department recommended Congress not waive the main requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 28, 2020

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has decided not to waive federal requirements for educators to serve students with disabilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When Congress passed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package last month, DeVos was tasked with recommending whether states and school districts should be offered "limited flexibility" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. That law says students with disabilities are entitled to an education that fits their needs. But when the pandemic forced schools nationwide to move classes online, some argued IDEA could leave schools open to legal action, since they may not be able to adequately serve students with disabilities through online learning alone.

But the Education Department ultimately decided against waiving "any of the core tenets" of the law in its report to Congress on Monday. In an accompanying statement, DeVos said that "while the Department has provided extensive flexibility to help schools transition, there is no reason for Congress to waive any provision designed to keep students learning. With ingenuity, innovation, and grit, I know this nation's educators and schools can continue to faithfully educate every one of its students."