April 2, 2020

    Subject: Section 504 Student Parent/Guardian Letter

    Due to the current unforeseen public health emergency, specifically the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, all school buildings are closed through the end of the school year. Above all else, the priority during these times remains the safety and health of the students, staff, and our community. The state-mandated closure requires changes to the implementation of educational instruction, causing an emergency disruption to regular school-based instructional services. Until notified otherwise, all instructional services necessary for students to make progress in the general curriculum and services necessary for a free, appropriate public education (“FAPE”) must be provided remotely, and in some circumstances, in a condensed manner. The movement of instruction from a physical building to the Personalized Learning at Home virtual educational opportunity requires a temporary adaptation to your child’s Section 504 Services Plan.

     The District has summarized below the District’s plan to effectively adapt the current Section 504 Services Plan until regular school-based instruction resumes. Once regular school-based instructional services resume, your child’s Section 504 Services Plan will again be implemented. At such time, the District will review all data regarding student progress during the emergency to determine whether to convene a Section 504 committee meeting to consider compensatory services.

    Based on the virtual educational opportunities being provided to all students and guidance from federal and state agencies, the District has identified the below-listed services as appropriate for your child’s needs while physical presence in a school building remains unavailable. The Section 504 Services Plan will resume, as before, once physical school buildings re-open to students.

    1. The District proposes the following access to academic instruction for your child:

    The Personalized Learning at Home virtual educational opportunity

    2. The District proposes to support your child’s educational progress in this academic instruction by providing the following:

    Virtual “check ins” from Teachers, Section 504 Campus Coordinators, and Reading Interventionists

    There may be accommodations outlined in your child’s Section 504 Services Plan that may be unavailable while the District is closed.

    Parents of children with disabilities have protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. You can obtain a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards at the following web address: https://fw.esc18.net/display/Webforms/ESC18-FW-LandingPage.aspx?DT=G&LID=en . If you have any questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to Maria Embrey, District Section 504 Coordinator, at 817-547-5785 or Maria.Embrey@birdvilleschools.net.  You can also obtain assistance from Region 11 Educational Service Center at 817-740-3600 or the Texas Education Agency at www.tea.state.tx.us. The District appreciates your patience and flexibility as we all determine the best way to serve your student.

    COVID-19 Update for Section 504 Meetings-last updated March 30, 2020


    • Effective immediately, we are suspending the Birdville ISD procedure to have Section 504 meetings annually. Instead, we will adhere to the Federal requirement to convene a Section 504 meeting every three years.

    • The only Section 504 meetings that will be required to be conducted will be for students who have not had a meeting in the past three years. For example, if a student has not had a Section 504 meeting since March, April or May of 2017 then they would be on the list to have a Section 504 meeting. These Section 504 meetings would be scheduled and parents/guardians notified by email or phone call. If an email is sent, the “Read Receipt” option on the email will be selected for documentation purposes. Possible methods for conducting a Section 504 meeting include conference calls, Zoom meetings, Google meetings or Go To meetings. Parent/guardians participation is welcomed but not mandatory.

    • For annual reviews that HAVE been scheduled prior to spring break, parents/guardians will have the choice to either conduct the meeting virtually, over the phone, or to reschedule it for the 2020–2021 school year.

    Section 504

    Section 504 prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities by school districts receiving federal financial assistance. This includes all programs or activities of the school district, regardless of whether the specific program or activity involved is a direct recipient of federal funds. Included in the U.S. Department of Education regulations for Section 504 is the requirement that students with disabilities be provided with a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). These regulations require identification, evaluation, provision of appropriate services, and procedural safeguards.

    All individuals who are disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are also considered to be disabled and, therefore, protected under Section 504. However, all individuals who have been determined to be disabled under Section 504 may not be disabled under IDEA.

    The authority provided under Section 504 intersects with other statutes. Section 504 is not a provision of special education as defined by the IDEA. It is a responsibility of the general public education system. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 incorporates and expands upon Section 504. This title provides that no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in, or be denied, the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (2009) and further clarified in 2010, prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. An eligible student is one who:

    ·         has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;

    ·         has a record or history of such impairment;

    ·         is regarded as having such an impairment. 

    Any student with a disability that substantially limits one or more life activities may be considered for 504 services. A Section 504 referral can be initiated by a parent, student or school personnel.  The referral must be made by someone who is knowledgeable about the student and has reason to believe that the student has a disability that is substantially limiting one or more major life activities.  A Section 504 plan outlines the accommodations and supports necessary to provide the student with a disability a free and appropriate education.  It may address academic, behavior, or health issues.

    If you have questions about Section 504, please contact Maria Embrey, Coordinator of 504/At Risk, at 817.547.5785 or email Maria Embrey, Section 504 District Coordinator