Special Populations

Updated 8-3-2020 at 7:35 a.m.

All of the information about the online school is for students K - 12. Do I have the option of online school for my preschool student who had early childhood special education services?

Students receiving early childhood special education services may opt to receive their services in a virtual format; however, there will not be a preschool at the online school.

What are the implications on the return to learn plan for reverse inclusion peers in the early childhood special education classroom?

After much consideration, Hanover County Public Schools has decided to delay the start for general education peers in all of our reverse inclusion special education preschool programs. A delayed start for peers will allow the teachers and instructional assistants an opportunity to teach the students with disabilities new safety routines such as how to wear a mask and maintain social distance.

While we know that the delayed start may be inconvenient for your family, we want to make sure that we are creating a safe environment for all students and staff members. At this time, our plan is to have general education peers join the reverse inclusion special education preschool programs after the first nine weeks (start date of November 9th, 2020). If our plan changes due to the phase in which the school system is operating, then we will communicate those changes with families as soon as possible.

How will students with disabilities be served?

All students with an IEP or Section 504 plan will have their plan reviewed and amended, if appropriate, to address any identified needs in their learning environment whether it be virtual or face to face. IEP teams may also consider what, if any, learning impact was made due to the school closure and if adjustments will need to be made to the IEP to ensure that the student continues to make educational progress.

All students with disabilities can elect to participate in virtual school or in the face to face school as any other student without a disability. If a family decides upon virtual school, special education and related services, to include speech/language therapy, can be offered in a tele-services format as determined by each student’s IEP team.

My child has required homebound services for medical reasons in the past, what will homebound instruction look in ‘20-’21?

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, students during the 2020-2021 school year who qualify for homebound services will receive instruction through an online format. Should the student require homebound services of four weeks or longer, consideration will be given for transfer to the Virtual School. For students receiving services through a 504 Plan or Individual Education Plan (IEP), a 504 or IEP meeting should be scheduled to discuss any needed accommodations.

Will my student’s current case manager continue to work with them in the online school?

The online school will have its own staff. Should a student move to the online school, the student’s “home” school special education staff will collaborate with the online school staff to transition the student to the online school. Special education students will be assigned a case manager from the online school special education staff.

How will special education services be provided in the online school?

IEP teams will determine the special education services needed in order for the student to access the curriculum and to progress on IEP goals. All services can be delivered in the online setting. Students with disabilities will have access to related services and assistive technology as outlined in their IEP. Specialized instruction can occur in a small group or individual online setting. Behavioral consultation and training through district and school staff will be available to families as needed to support online learning in the home setting.

My student may have lost skills due to the school closure since March 2020. How will the school address this?

During the first 4-6 weeks, special educators will be collecting data related to the students’ IEP goals to determine an updated present level of performance. An IEP can be requested by staff or family to discuss recovery services.

My student requires extensive supports and will not understand the need for wearing a mask and remaining socially distant in a face to face environment. How will my student, teachers, and other students follow the safety mitigation plan?

Additional training that will focus on mitigation strategies for safety for special educators working with students with intense supports needs will occur in August prior to pre-service work. The special education classroom will be arranged so that each student has their own instructional space. Every effort will be made to have these spaces be at least six feet apart. Teachers, working alongside parents, will develop a plan to teach the student to wear a mask and to stay socially distant from students utilizing positive behavior supports. If the student spends time within the general education setting, the student will be placed six feet away and taught to remain within the space. The IEP team will discuss additional accommodations if needed.

What will Phase 2 or Phase 1 face to face services look like for students with IEPs?

HCPS will be providing face to face specialized instruction to address student’s IEP goals during Phase 1 and Phase 2. The student schedule for receiving services will be limited partial days each week to ensure to provide for social distancing and a safe environment for both the student and staff. The schedule will not include five full school days each week. Students will only attend such programs if the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team agrees it is appropriate and the parent consents. Online instruction may remain appropriate for certain students who may be challenged with adherence to the strict social distancing and safety guidelines as determined by the IEP team and the parents' consent.

My student receives accommodations through a 504 plan (or IEP). I understand that not all accommodations can be implemented in the online school; what would that look like? If I choose the face to face model, would the safety mitigation strategies have impact on the implementation of my student’s accommodations? 

Below are some examples of common accommodations and how they will look in each environment. These are for illustrative purposes only; each IEP/504 team will make the final determinations based upon the individual student. The organization of course content in Schoology may address organizational and/or time management concerns. Individual teams may find that these accommodations are not required for the student.


How could this accommodation be implemented in an online format?

How could this accommodation be implemented face to face with safety mitigation? 

Ability to pack up belongings five minutes prior to class transitions, to assist with organizational struggles 

Establish a system that provides the student and learning coach with a routine/checklist to aid in transitioning from one activity to another 

Establish a system that provides the student with a routine/checklist to aid in transitioning from one activity to another

Housing student materials in a specified location where access is limited to the student and adult adhering to safety protocols.

Agenda signed for accuracy

Change accommodation to: teacher will support students in accessing and managing assignments in Schoology.  

Implement an online assignment log system for student that teacher will check for accuracy


Develop an alternative method (sticker or use of designated writing instrument to mark that agenda has been checked

Copy of teacher notes, after student attempt to assist with focus.  

Teacher will provide online access to teacher notes

Teacher will provide physical copy of notes on agreed upon schedule (weekly, bi-weekly) adhering to safety protocols for the distribution of materials

By post
Parent pick up

Teacher will provide copy of notes after student attempt adhering to safety protocols for distribution of materials  

Extended time, up to one additional class block, to turn in assignments and projects to assist with executive functioning deficits. 

Accommodation remains the same

Accommodation remains the same 

Gain A Student's attention when giving directions by having him repeat directions  

Ensure student’s attention when giving verbal directions in the on-line class setting by providing a cue and either verbal and written format (Chat box, email) to repeat the directions 

Accommodation remains the same 

Preferential seating away from distractions and close to the board 

Student will have independent work setting at home per parent report.  

Student will have independent work station adhering to safety protocol 

Sensory program developed and monitored by OT and implemented by trained school staff. 

Sensory schedule will be developed with parent; parent training will occur. OT will check in with parent 1x/month. 

Sensory schedules will be developed within the classroom setting adhering to safety protocols for materials and distancing OT will consult with teacher 1x/month.  

Small group testing in an environment larger than 6 students.  

1:1 testing if test is given in an oral format.  

Accomodation remains the same 

Use of a break card to access his case manager when needing assistance related to executive functioning skills, student stamina, and/or social skills struggles 

Establish a system with parent, learning coach, student and teacher that provides the student a way to communicate that a break is needed 

Accomodation remains the same and adheres to safety protocols. 

Check in/check out

Schedule with parent or learning coach set time and method for regular check ins.  

Check in/check out plan developed with adherence to safety protocols 

Read Aloud for math, history, and science tests and quizzes 

Read Aloud for math, history, and science tests and quizzes provided through assistive technology or through live or recorded means 

Read Aloud for math, history, and science tests and quizzes provided through assistive technology or face to face 


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