Question: Are Recovery Services provided only for pre-existing IEP goals or should Recovery Services be provided if the student has needs in other areas?
Answer: First, some context. Recovery Services are causing a lot of confusion for everyone. They are a brand new made-up category for students with IEPs. Recovery services are not in the IDEA (the law that governs IEPs) or in the case law. There is already an existing legal remedy called “compensatory education” for situations when a school division has not provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student with disabilities.
On top of that, due to the unique circumstances of the pandemic, many state departments of education have created a new category of make-up services called “Covid Recovery Services” to remedy the educational deficits from the pandemic. The Virginia Department of Education released guidance: Considerations for COVID Recovery Services for Students with Disabilities.
Now to get to the above question. Since Recovery Services are not in the statute or case law, we need to look to the VDOE guidance. According to the guidance:
- The IEP team should consider holding an IEP meeting to discuss Covid recovery services when “there is a lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general education curriculum, if appropriate.” (page 10, emphasis added).
- IEP teams should consider “additional services to recoup previously learned skills; and new services and supports that were not previously provided to assist with successfully re-entering the school environment…” (page 12, emphasis added)
- “The need for Covid recovery services should be based on whether or not the student continued making progress in the general education curriculum, or alternative course of study specified in their IEP, or toward meeting their individualized IEP goals and/or if any significant regression occurred during the period of school closure.” (page 12, emphasis added)
- There should be “a focus on reducing the impact of the school closure and a return to student progress that is appropriate for the student.” (page 12)
So, nothing in the guidance limits Recovery Services to pre-existing IEP goals. In fact, the language appears to contemplate providing services in areas beyond existing IEP goals and services.