CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. – Special education students in Illinois who missed out on crucial in-person activities and learning due to the pandemic would be able to extend their individualized education programs (IEP) under legislation recently passed by state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake.
“COVID-19 has been tough on all students, however for special needs students and their families, it has been especially devastating,” said Ness. “These students have had limited or no opportunity to engage in the in-person activities and services required by their IEP and have been limited in achieving their transition goals. Because of this, many students not only stopped making progress, but they also began to regress, leaving parents struggling financially and emotionally to deal with the situation.”
Ness’ House Bill 2748 would allow for eligible students who turned 22 between March 17, 2020 and the end of the 2021-2022 school year who’s in-person instruction, activities and services were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic to be afforded the option of extending eligibility to participate in their IEP through the end of the regular 2021-2022 school year. If the student’s most recent IEP is no longer available, the student’s IEP team shall convene a meeting to consider comparable services that address appropriate transition goals for the student. Ness’ bill passed out of the House unanimously and now awaits consideration in the Senate.
“This legislation will help ensure students across Illinois have a set opportunity to complete their IEP in the way it was originally designed before the pandemic,” said Ness. “I am proud to have brought this bill forward and received the support from members on both sides of the aisle and will continue working diligently on behalf of all students.”