Public Policy |

Preparing for Back-to-School

We are officially in Back-to-School season. While there are many things to consider in preparing for school, we want to ensure students who have disabilities and their families understand how they can get the support they need this year.


Recovery Education:

The Recovery Education bill is one of The Arc Minnesota’s Public Policy Goals that passed this last legislative session. You can watch an informational video on the bill, thanks to our organizational partner, Multicultural Autism Action Network (MAAN).


This bill supports students who have disabilities to recover learning lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and during distance learning. The commissioner of education, school districts, or charter schools must invite parents and families of students with disabilities to a meeting of each individualized education program (IEP) team.

IEP meetings must take place no later than December 1, 2021.

What IEP Teams Must Consider

In collaboration with students who have disabilities and their families, IEP teams must evaluate and discuss:

  • What services and supports did the student access prior to the pandemic?
  • What is the ability of the student to access services and supports? For example:
    • Do they have access to proper technology and internet?
    • Do they have a quiet place to work?
    • Are they able to engage via a screen?
  • What progress did the student make on IEP goals prior to the pandemic?
  • Was the student’s learning disrupted? What was the regression or loss of skills?
  • How else was the student impacted by the pandemic as it related to their ability to participate in and benefit from instruction?
    • Family loss
    • Changed family circumstances
    • Other trauma
    • Illness
  • Are special education services and supports necessary to address:
    • The lack of progress on IEP goals or the general education curriculum
    • Loss of learning or skills
  • What kind of services and supports would best serve the student and their family?
  • When and how will the student receive the additional services and supports?
    • Time of day
    • Day of the week
    • Time of year
    • Ability to access proposed services


Included Services and Supports

In collaboration with the student and their family, IEP teams may determine that a student will most benefit from extended school year (ESY) services, additional IEP services, compensatory services, or other appropriate services. These services must be made available until the IEP team determines that the services and supports are no longer necessary.

Services and supports can be focused specifically on academic progress or lost learning, but the Recovery Education services go beyond issues with distance learning as well. Students may also access services and supports via behavioral support, mental health support, other related services beyond academics.

Next Steps for Students and Families

  • Contact your IEP team now if you have not heard from your school district or charter school
  • Ask your school if they are aware of the new Recovery Education law
  • Reach out for help if you need it:


Attend one of our Back-to-School Community Conversations events!

Facebook Event Page

Saturday, September 18

  • 11:30am-12:45pm

Tuesday, September 21

  • 11:30am-12:45pm
  • 6:30pm-7:45pm

For accessibility requests, contact Gene Martinez


Written by Julia Burkstaller, The Arc Minnesota Public Policy Director