COVID-19 has been a major disruptor for many industries. Chief among them is education, where schools that have opted to use some form of distance learning are facing new failure to educate claims. Many of these claims pertain to students with functional needs receiving therapies through schools and those that are on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). However, we have also observed claims from families of students who are not on IEPs, but who oppose distance learning options.
Mitigating the risk of failure to educate claims
For schools, it’s important to treat learning concerns as a top priority and to take a proactive approach, before issues potentially develop into larger – and more costly – problems. Here are some key actions schools should take to help ensure they continue to meet all their students’ learning needs.
- Establish a process to evaluate student learning concerns. As learning platforms and teaching environments change, having a consistent way to identify concerns and decide when to make modifications is critical. Consider assigning responsibility for evaluation to a dedicated official.
- Reach out to families with IEPs. Encourage families to contact the district with questions or concerns and to flag emerging issues so they can be addressed. Consider increasing frequency of check-ins between educators and families.
- Notify your carrier as soon as issues emerge. Set up a conference with the family as soon as any complaints or allegations that an IEP isn’t being followed come to light to try to reach a resolution.
- Seek guidance from the State Department of Education to ensure compliance.
By taking a proactive approach and communicating with families, a school is better equipped to support its students, resolve many issues without attorney involvement, and mitigate the risk of costly failure to educate claims.
The foregoing is not professional advice nor legal advice, is provided for information only, and is not a substitute for consulting with a professional. Insurance is underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company or its affiliates or subsidiaries.