School Closures and Special Education

Protecting our clients has always been our highest priority. As families are dealing with school closures and the impact of COVID-19, we wanted to provide a parent resource for special education and school-related information.

Your Child’s Rights During School Closures 

In response to school closures and COVID-19, we want help where we can. We are in a unique situation to be one of only a few special education parent-side law firms in the state. Now, perhaps more than ever before, we all need reliable advice and information. 

Mental Health During School Closures
Special Education During Closures
Texas Free Lunch Finder
Texas Free Lunch Finder

Texas School Meal Finder

Search by state or address to find Texas school sites providing free meals during school closures

Texas Education Agency Guidance

Schools are required to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students in the district or school who receive special education and related services. Schools that close campuses and establish virtual learning environments or other alternative educational delivery methods, must ensure that planning addresses the provision of all services required in each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), including both instructional and related services.  TEA Initial Guidance

Latest TEA Guidance [May 27, 2020]


Instructional Continuity Framework Resources from TEA

Residential School Guidance

Planning for Instructional Continuity During High Absenteeism and School Closures


ESC region websites

Instructional Continuity Resources by Region

Find region-specific guidance and support for instructional continuity. Each Education Service Center provides digital and non-digital resources to help with the transition to at-home instruction. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC has issued guidance on best practices to avoid exposure to COVID-19, including thoroughly washing hands and avoiding close contact. In addition CDC has issued guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools.

Schools, working together with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments. Schools serve students, staff, and visitors from throughout the community. All of these people may have close contact in the school setting, often sharing spaces, equipment, and supplies.

Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but the information that is available suggests that children with confirmed COVID-19 generally had mild symptoms. Person-to-person spread from or to children, as among adults, is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.

However, a small percentage of children have been reported to have more severe illness. People who have serious chronic medical conditions are believed to be at higher risk. Despite lower risk of serious illness among most children, children with COVID-19-like symptoms should avoid contact with others who might be at higher risk, such as older adults and adults with serious chronic medical conditions.

U.S. Department of Education

Department guidance page for School and COVID-19 related issues.

Latest Department of ED Guidance [March 21, 2020]
Addressing Serving Children with Disabilities during COVID-19 national emergency

Supple Fact Sheet 3.21.20 FINAL (3)

Supplemental Guidance from The Department of Education

Initial Questions and Answers Guidance by The Department of Education 

Department of Education Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility



Schools must continue, working under the constraints of the pandemic circumstances, to ensure that students with disabilities are provided with a free and appropriate public education that includes challenging and ambitious goals commensurate with a student’s abilities.

Latest COPAA Guidance [March 21, 2020]
COPAA faq_final-3-31-2020

Rights Under IDEA During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Disability Rights Texas 

Coronavirus and Rights of Students with Disabilities (March 12, 2020)


School District Specific Information

We have developed a centralized list of Texas school-district COVID-19 information.

Austin Area

Austin ISD…
Round Rock ISD
Leander ISD
Lake Travis ISD
Dripping Springs ISD…
Eanes ISD

Greater DFW

Alba-Golden ISD…
Alvarado ISD…
Dallas ISD
Lewisville ISD
Mansfield ISD
McKinney ISD
Plano ISD

Greater Houston Area 

Houston ISD
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD…
Katy ISD…
Conroe ISD…
Klein ISD…
Channelview ISD…
Clear Creek ISD…
Dickinson ISD
Fort Bend ISD…
Friendswood ISD
Galena Park ISD…
Hempstead ISD…
Magnolia ISD…
Sante Fe ISD
Sheldon ISD…
Tomball ISD…
Willis ISD

San Antonio Area 

Alamo Heights ISD…
Boerne ISD…
East Central ISD
Edgewood ISD…
Northside ISD…
North East ISD

Rio Grande Valley Area

Santa Rosa ISD
La Feria ISD
Brownsville ISD…
Harlingen CISD…

Texas School Closures

Schools are closed across Texas for the 2019-2020 academic year per the Governor’s Executive Order. 


What Shields Law Firm is Doing

We are telecommuting and meeting virtually or telephonically with current clients. We have changed our in-person consultation policy to web-based or phone consultations. As our work requires in-person meetings or conferences, we will maintain social distancing.

In response to COVID-19’s impact on school closures and Students with Disabilities

• Parent Resource Page
We have developed this web page to provide state-wide and school-district specific resources and information.

• Free Parent Webinars
We are holding free parent webinars each week to address parent issues and concerns during this time. Join us for our next webinar. 

We are updating as new guidance emerges, but please reach out if you believe a resource is missing.  Thank you for your understanding while we navigate this challenge. 

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