Despite the many ups and downs of this school year, we are moving right along! Spring IEP and planning meetings are being scheduled and teams have begun talking about the fall. While there are still many unknowns, using what we have learned from this school year we can thoughtfully plan for the many possible scenarios in the fall.
- While most of us anticipate returning to school full time in the fall, it is not certain. Additionally, now that remote learning has become familiar, many schools have decided to eliminate snow days and instead use “Blizzard Bags,” in which teachers would provide remote learning materials in the case of bad weather. For this reason, I am keeping the remote learning plans and accommodations in all of my students’ IEPs.
- We have had time to explore different masks and figure out what works best for each student. Under “Accommodations” or “Additional Information” (depending on the format of the IEP / 504), I am writing in the specific model of mask preferred by each student. I am also adding in the need for HAT system cleaning wipes and any other accommodations specific to masks and distancing that have been helpful for each student.
- I always try to choose teachers who will make an effort to meet the unique needs of our students with hearing loss in the classroom. This piece is even more important right now. Teachers who speak clearly, explain concisely, already use ample visual supports and are comfortable with technology will have an easier time accommodating our students no matter what the instructional mode (in-person, virtual, or hybrid)—setting everyone up for success in the fall.
- Some school routines have been adjusted due to COVID protocols, such as one-way hallways, the number of people allowed in bathrooms at a time and how emergency drills are handled. I’ve specified 1:1 review of procedures and protocols in the fall for each of my students in their educational plans so that they know what to expect and understand any changes in the rules or routines.
As teachers of the deaf, we are always trying to plan ahead for our students. Now is the time to start ensuring that the fall transition goes as smoothly as possible so we can all start off strong and get a fresh start!