COVID-19: Addressing 2019-2020 Evaluation Completion

The Illinois Administrative Code, at 23 IAC 226.110(d), requires that upon completion of the identified evaluation assessments, but no later than 60 school days following the date of written consent, the determination of eligibility shall be made and the IEP meeting be completed. A school day is any day that students are in attendance for instructional purposes. 34 CFR 300.11. Pursuant to the Emergency Amendment to Part 5, Remote Learning Days, which began March 31, 2020, were deemed pupil attendance days for calculation of the length of a school term under Section 10-19 of the School Code. Accordingly, Remote Learning Days after March 31, 2020 contribute to the calculation of timelines. Remote Learning Planning Days, generally, do not constitute days for calculation of timelines because students are not in attendance for instructional purposes on Remote Learning Planning Days. If 60 school days remained in the 2019-2020 school year after the date that parent consent was obtained, then the district or other serving entity is required to complete the evaluation within this timeline.

If fewer than 60 school days remain in a school year after the date that parent consent was obtained, the eligibility determination must be made and the IEP meeting must be completed prior to the first day of student attendance in the following school year. Accordingly, for any evaluation initiated prior to the mandatory suspension of in-person instruction on March 17, 2020, an eligibility determination and IEP meeting must be completed prior to the first day of school for the 2020-21 school year.

If any portion of the identified evaluation could not be completed due to lack of parent/guardian consent or health and safety regulations, then the district must document the missing portions in the evaluation section of the IEP, along with the reasons those portions could not be completed. IEP teams should complete missing portions of the evaluation as early as during Phase 3 in alignment with the June 4, 2020 IDPH and ISBE Part 2- Transition Joint Guidance document titled Updated Summer School and Other Allowable Activities, or as soon as possible once the district or other serving entity returns to in-person instruction, after which the IEP team should be convened to review the results and determine or revisit eligibility and develop or revise the IEP, as appropriate.

Districts should make every effort to complete all unfinished evaluations initiated in their district as promptly as possible. If a student has moved and has enrolled in another district, the new district of enrollment would be responsible for completing the evaluation. The new district would enter the code 02 in I-STAR for Indicator 11 to indicate that the child enrolled in the district after parental consent was received in another district but before eligibility could be determined. Districts should, however, expedite evaluations and not delay completion due to the student being new to the district.

If the student is in eighth grade in an elementary district and will be enrolling in a high school district, the elementary district would be responsible for the evaluation until such time that the student leaves the elementary district (I.e., the completion of ESY if applicable since ESY is an extension of the school year.)

Evaluations can still be held virtually to the greatest extent possible; however, districts and other serving entities may conduct evaluations in person as long as they adhere to all state and local safety guidelines during the administration of evaluations.

From: ISBE - Frequently Asked Questions for Special Education on the Transition to In-Person Instruction (June 30, 2020)