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The state Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved a short-term relaxation of rules to allow school districts to provide special education services remotely.

The New Jersey State Board of Education’s April 1 meeting agenda included the temporary rule modification concurrent with the governor’s executive order March 9, allowing heads of departments to do so “where the enforcement of which would be detrimental to the public welfare during this emergency.”

Even prior to the governor ordering all public and private K-12 schools closed by March 18, school districts were figuring out how to provide special education-related services such as occupational, speech and behavioral therapy.

Despite clarification from the U.S. Department of Education last week, state regulations do not permit school districts or other educational agencies to deliver related services to students with disabilities through the use of electronic communications.

The proposal from New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet states, “Without this increased flexibility, students with disabilities will not receive the special education and related services they are entitled to as determined by each student’s individualized education program.”

Repollet wrote that the rule change is necessary because “enforcement of the existing rules would be detrimental to the public welfare during this emergency.”

(This story has been updated to reflect Wednesday's vote.)

Contact: 609-272-7251

Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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