Special Education

Supporting our Students with Special Needs 

  • All students with special education needs will continue to be supported by homeroom and special education resource teachers (SERTs), as well as support staff, as per their IEPs. ​
  • In order to ensure that students with special education needs are supported as schools reopen, considerations will be made for additional planning and transition time for students to support a smooth transition.​
  • Students in congregated classes will attend school daily, and staff will be provided with appropriate enhanced PPE; remote learning will be available where return to school is not possible.​ This includes secondary students in the Life Skills Program.
  • We will ensure technology/equipment are accessible to students with special education needs, and we will provide supports to students, families and staff, as necessary. ​
  • Programming will reflect differentiated learning needs for all students with special needs to ensure access to effective learning.
  • Empower will continue in the 2020-2021 school year. We continue to work with Sick Kids to create a delivery model that maintains the effectiveness of the intervention.
  • Student placement options as per their IEP will be honoured. 
  • Integration options, including virtually on-line, for Life Skills and Placement 4 students in congregated classes, will be developed individually, with a focus on maintaining cohorts.
  • All Special Education Itinerant staff are asked to consider which of their services can be provided virtually and limit their visits to one school site per day where possible. 
  • For parents who chose the learn at home option, virtual student sessions will be scheduled. 
  • Students will continue to access SEA equipment/assistive technology and staff will continue to be supported with SEA equipment training to enhance student access to learning.

IPRCs and IEPs 

  • Schools will follow the requirements to provide students with their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in collaboration with the IEP Team and parents/guardians.​
  • Changes in the school environments and/or remote learning needs will be considered when creating  and updating the IEPs. ​
  • Team meetings, IPRC meetings etc. will continue either face-to-face and/or remotely. Professional Support Services and other members of the team will be included as usual (e.g. social worker, psychologist, special education consultant, etc.) to be in attendance. ​

Transitions

  • In order to ensure that students with special education needs are supported as schools reopen, considerations will be made for additional planning and transition time for students to support a smooth transition.
  • In many cases a virtual transition prior to school entry in September may be appropriate. 
  • In cases where an in-school transition visit is deemed essential staff and students will follow school procedures, and parents will follow the appropriate procedure for “essential visitors”, which will be made available to them.
  • For students who decide to continue with at-home learning a virtual transition visit will be arranged as appropriate.

Transition Resources

PowerPoint Presentation: Return to School – Question and Answers with videos (287MB)

Social Distancing

Mask Wearing

Hand Washing

Flu & COVID-19

HCDSB Graphics

Other Graphics


Supporting Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH)

  • Staff Masks:  Clear masks, approved by Health Canada, on our procurement list of PPEs for staff that will be working with DHH students.  Availability is dependent on vendors being able to meet demands.   
  • Student Masks:  There may be opportunities for students in the class to wear, with parent consent, a clear mask if they are doing a task with a classmate who is DHH.  
  • FM systems:  Tips sheets for sanitizing transmitters have been created and will be distributed with the systems. Systems will be delivered to schools the first week. 
  • Close captioning:  IEPs can be updated to include captioning as an accommodation; we have successfully used Microsoft Stream to caption videos and Microsoft Teams has live close captioning for synchronous learning. 
  • ISERT DHH:  The team will follow the directive “All Special Education Itinerant staff are asked to consider which of their services can be provided virtually and limit their visits to one school site per day where possible.”

Third Party Service Providers 

  • Extensive measures will be taken to ensure all existing third-party services will continue to be provided to students with special needs wherever possible.  ​
  • All outside agencies will consider what services can be provided virtually prior to requesting access to HCDSB locations. ​
  • All visitors will be limited to essential services and must have approval from site Administrators prior to scheduled visits. ​
  • All third-party providers will wear masks at all times while at HCDSB sites and adhere to visitor protocol outlined earlier in this document. Where possible students will be taken out of the classroom for essential services.  ​
  • Student services personnel will always wear masks when it is essential, and they do attend in the classroom. ​

Supporting Medically Fragile Students

  • We will support the safe return of our medically fragile students by consulting with local public health authorities on options for personal protective equipment, staff training, and potential continued remote learning where return is not possible. ​
  • Parents and guardians will be encouraged to consult with their health care providers. ​
  • We will work with HSTS to support accommodations for immunocompromised and medically vulnerable students.​

Exemptions for Mask Wearing

Reasonable exceptions to mask wearing will be considered.

An exemption may be requested for a student in Grades K-12 for the following reasons:

  • A pre-existing medical condition that causes breathing difficulty (e.g., Cystic Fibrosis or asthma)
  • A diagnosis or learning profile that would limit a student’s ability to tolerate or safely wear a mask, including whereby a mask would effect essential communication for a person who is hearing impaired
  • A mental health diagnosis 
  • Other, as detailed by a healthcare practitioner

A process for exemption approval will follow.


Creative Design OfficerSpecial Education