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Return to School Roadmap: Development and Implementation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) U.S. Department of Education


The purpose of the Return to School Roadmap IDEA guidance documents, which focus on school reopening efforts, is to support the full implementation of IDEA requirements. The documents also serve to clarify that, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, or the mode of instruction, children with disabilities are entitled to FAPE, and infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families to appropriate IDEA Part C services.

The Department recognizes that some parents may have specific health and safety concerns about sending their children back to in-person instruction because of the health risk to the student, the student’s immediate family, and to other household members — even as parents are also concerned about their child missing the instructional and social and emotional opportunities that come with in-person learning. Therefore, reopening schools safely is of utmost importance. State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) should put in place layered prevention strategies, including promoting vaccination and universal and correct mask-wearing in schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone in K through 12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.


Federal Laws Individualized Education Program (IEP) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)