Emergency Plans for IEPs
Emergency Plans for IEPs
Under California law, students with disabilities with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must have an Emergency Plan in placeCal. Ed. Code § 56345(a)(9). The law requires IEP teams to consider how a student’s individual needs may be impacted in emergency situations.
In California, emergency situations occur often. Emergency situations can include natural disasters like wildfires, floods, and earthquakes but can also include epidemics, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under California law, students with disabilities with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must have an Emergency Plan in place1. The law requires IEP teams to consider how a student’s individual needs may be impacted in emergency situations. Under state law, emergency situations include:
- Impassable roads
- Major safety hazard
- Transportation strike by a non-school provider
- Other state of emergency
The IEP team must develop an Emergency Plan for each student with an IEP. Parents/guardians are important members of the IEP team. You should work with other IEP team members to develop your child’s Emergency Plan. This Plan must state how instruction and services will be given to a student with a disability if they cannot be provided to the student in person or at school for more than 10 school days. This Plan must address a student’s
- Special education
- Related services
- Supplementary aids and services
- Transition services
- Extended School Year services
You can consent to parts of the IEP. This includes the Emergency Plan. When you consent to parts of the IEP, those services and placement can be implemented as soon as possible. If you consent to the IEP, it does not mean that you agree that the IEP provides your child with a free appropriate public education. If you disagree with parts of your child’s IEP, you can state that you do not want certain parts of the IEP to be implemented. Those parts cannot be implemented. But, the school district may file for due process against you to show that the IEP provides your child with a free, appropriate public education.
Your school should implement your child’s Emergency Plan if:
- Your child has an Emergency Plan that you consented to,
- Your school district/you are impacted by one of the emergency situations listed above, and
- Your child cannot receive instruction or services in person or at school for more than 10 school days.
Your child has a right to a free appropriate public education, or FAPE, even during an emergency. If your child’s school district does not implement your child’s Emergency Plan, you have options. You can contact your child’s case manager/program specialist or the school district’s special education director and ask that the Emergency Plan be implemented.
If the school district refuses, you can file a compliance complaint with the California Department of Education or file a due process complaint with the Office for Administrative Hearings. For more information about these complaints, please see DRC’s Special Education Rights and Responsibilities Manual, Chapter 6
You should not wait for an emergency situation to happen to think about how your child with a disability will receive instruction and services during an emergency situation. If your child does not have an Emergency Plan in place, you can request an IEP meeting to develop this Plan with your child’s IEP team.