Phyllis Wolfram: Four Priorities for Providing Leadership and Support While Navigating COVID-19

Phyllis Wolfram

Originally published in the June/July 2020 issue of AC&E/Equity & Access

The Council of Administrators of Special Education continues to support their members and all leaders seeking guidance in special education.  As early as March 2020, CASE began collaborating with local directors across the nation, the Office of Special Education Programs, national partners, and many others.

CASE developed a series of webinars providing guidance as schools began to close due to the spread of COVID-19. These webinars are currently located at and available to all. It is important to note that CASE focused on “Four Priorities” throughout each of the webinars:

1) Focus on the safety, health, and welfare of students and staff members in your community.

  • Follow the CDC and State Guidance Documents even during the summer as you are planning for ESY and reopening.
  • Plan for possible challenges with health and welfare in the long term.
  • Focus on mental health for your staff and for students – what are you doing to keep balance?

2) Provide FAPE – Deliver services to as many students as you reasonably can in the best way you know how.

  • Continue to provide as many services as possible through remote learning as you can.
  • Provide Extended School Year services as you typically would have (just provide them virtually)
  • Make services and supports individualized for students with disabilities.

3) Document your efforts; make sure documentation is focused, consistent, detailed and demonstrates a good faith effort to provide good services.

  • Assist your teams with staying organized with all of the “paper” and virtual records.
  • Organize yourself and your team over the summer for what the Fall will look like (i.e., evaluations, meetings, etc.)

4) Compliance during the pandemic – IDEA wasn’t built for this.

  • Comply with meeting notification requirements in the best way you know how.
  • Attempt to meet timelines as best as possible.
  • Follow through with state guidance documents.

CASE will continue to support our members and those working in the field of special education as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and return to normal or maybe our “new normal” of educating our students.  Visit the CASE website for more information at

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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