Safely Reopening America's Schools
On July 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians and caregivers when schools open this fall. With states, cities and communities around the country experiencing different levels of COVID-19 transmission, jurisdictions should make sure appropriate public health strategies are in place to slow the spread of the virus as the first step in creating a safer school environment. Then, in collaboration with state and local health departments, school administrators may employ strategies that best match local conditions and practical and feasible actions in their schools to help protect the health and safety of everyone – including students, teachers and staff (press release).
“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” explained CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. “The resources released today will help parents, teachers and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins. I know this has been a difficult time for our nation’s families. School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”
CDC’s resources and tools support how to open schools safely by promoting behaviors that prevent spread, altering the school and school day structure and keeping the school environment healthy through cleaning, proper ventilation and other practices. They also describe what to do to guard against someone who might be sick from infecting others and what to do if this occurs. Finally, they provide students, school administrators, parents, guardians and caregivers with the information they need to guide decision-making and adapt to local conditions.
Deputy Secretary of Education Mitchell Zais will join Dr. Redfield for a media telebriefing to discuss the new resources later today (July 24).
Meanwhile, over the past few weeks, President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary DeVos and other senior Administration officials reiterated the importance of safely reopening America’s schools this fall.
On July 14, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Vice President and Secretary participated in a roundtable discussion with Governor John Bel Edwards at Tiger Stadium on the campus of Louisiana State University (Vice President’s remarks).
On July 15, the Secretary was the keynote speaker for the virtual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum (video).
On July 21, in Columbia, South Carolina, the Vice President, Second Lady Karen Pence and the Secretary participated in a roundtable discussion with Governor Henry McMaster at the Alumni Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina (Vice President’s remarks and Secretary’s tweets 1 and 2).
Also, Deputy Secretary Zais spoke on this week’s White House briefing call for state and local officials. “We recognize that school may look different this fall,” he stated. “That’s fine. This is an opportunity to show our children that – with some ingenuity and creative thinking – we can overcome any challenge. Our schools will return stronger and more student-focused than before.”
Additionally, the Deputy Secretary kicked-off a webinar hosted by the Department’s Center for Faith and Opportunities Initiative: “Talking to Elementary School Age Children about a Return to School.”
The White House, the Department and other federal agencies continue to release guidance to support schools, educators and families regarding COVID-19. Many of the latest documents are listed below.
- Coronavirus.gov, CDC.gov/Coronavirus and USA.gov/Coronavirus
- Office for Civil Rights (OCR) webinar covering various civil rights issues that affect K-12 and postsecondary education, in light of the COVID-19 national emergency
- Additional regulatory flexibilities for institutions of higher education — campus and fire safety reports, equity in athletics disclosures and fiscal operations reports and applications to participate
- Reminder of alternative acceptable documentation to complete for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) verification of non-filing and Form W-2, as well as notice that the Department will make adjustments to its risk-based model and will not negatively view increased use of professional judgment or use it as a selection criteria for a program compliance review for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 award years
- Update on Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act quarterly reporting requirements
- Moreover, in a Federal Register notice, the Department corrected information regarding eligible entities for the Reimagine Workforce Preparation (RWP) Grants Program, indicating that the applicant must be either a State Workforce Board that is a state agency or an entity with the authority to apply for, receive and administer funds or a state agency or entity that is appropriately designated by the State Workforce Board.
MSHA Convention Cancellation Announcement
With an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our attendees and the patients they serve (who may be part of at-risk populations), MSHA has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 MSHA Convention (and all related activities and meetings), originally scheduled at Tan-Tar-A Conference Center, Osage Beach, Missouri, April 2-5. This unanimous decision was made by the MSHA’s Executive Board due to concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In the face of increasing concerns and the guidance of governmental and health agencies at the international, national, state and local level, the decision was compelled and required.
The Executive Board appreciates the countless hours devoted to planning for this Convention. We recognize the commitment of organizers, presenters, sponsors, exhibitors, attendees and staff to the success of the Convention and acknowledge the disappointment we all share in not being able to continue as planned. However, the need to cancel became apparent considering the developments over the last few days, growing travel restrictions worldwide and increasing concerns expressed by attendees.
We ask for your patience as we work through policies and procedures with respect to registration and determine the next steps. We have many details to address and will need some time to identify answers for you. We hope that this preliminary announcement can help you to plan accordingly and to adjust your travel arrangements. We will reach out with as much information as possible in the days and weeks ahead. Our priority now is communicating that the onsite 2020 MSHA Convention is canceled. Please take time to cancel your hotel accommodations.
Our association has overcome changes and challenges in the past, and we will do so again, together, as we continue to work to help others. The Executive Board and management are now beginning the hard work of determining what alternatives we can offer in other formats to assist you in meeting your continuing education requirements. MSHA will provide you with an update in the near future.
MSHA is creating a formalized refund process and will be offering that to attendees as soon as it is available. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented time.
Thank you for your ongoing support of MSHA.
- ASHA Journals is making a selection of relevant articles available to all readers on ASHA Wire. Check them out here: https://pubs.asha.org/special-collections/telepracticeresources.
- A Letter from the Chair of the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC), in regards to COVID-19: Use of Telepractice and Telesupervision
- Missouri Telepractice Requirements for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists
- Infection Control Resources for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists
- Coronavirus Updates
- Payment and Coverage Considerations for Telepractice Services During Coronavirus/COVID-19
- Resuming In-Person Services During COVID-19: What to Consider As You Prepare
- COVID-19: Tracking of State Medicaid Telepractice Policies and Emergency Telepractice Orders
- COVID-19: Tracking of State Laws And Regulations for Telepractice and Licensure Policy
- COVID-19: Tracking of State Laws and Regulations for School-Based Telepractice
Questions and Answers for Providing Services to Children With Disabilities During Coronavirus Outbreak
- Project ACCESS added a Homebound Activities category in the free online portal, the Autism Helpline, as a platform for sharing ideas, resources and questions related to serving students with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities in an online environment.Sign up for and access the Project ACCESS Autism Helpline. Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- March 2020, by the United States Department of Education. Read more at
Telepractice Research and Tips
The following information was curated by The Informed SLP’s team of scientists and clinicians, in response to recent events that are temporarily upending clinical practice and the lives of our members. Read more at https://www.theinformedslpmembers.com/free-telepractice-research-reviews.
As a result of the COVID-19 national emergency, the federal government relaxed HIPAA enforcement of federal penalties, providing more flexibilities for health care providers to choose telepractice platforms. While this may help many audiologists and SLPs, these loosened regulations do not apply in all situations and do not address regulations governed by FERPA. Therefore, it is important to be aware of state telepractice laws and regulations for licensure and service delivery [PDF]. The FERPA and Virtual Learning Related Resources [PDF] (March 2020) document provides a compilation of ED resources on FERPA and considerations for virtual learning. For more information on telepractice, see ASHA’s Telepractice Resources During COVID-19 webpage.
Missouri Department of Education & Secondary Education (DESE)
New COVID-19 Related School Reentry Question and Answer Guide Now Available (July 30, 2020)
After receiving many questions from constituents, DESE’s Office of Special Education developed a COVID-19 question and answer guide. The compliance team utilized information from a variety of resources, including guidance documents posted by other states and national organizations and questions received from Missouri educators serving special education students. State and local education agencies are tasked with planning school reentry in the midst of changing conditions in our communities. The challenge is to craft plans that provide flexibility and continuity of learning for all students, while staying true to the intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students with disabilities. Please remember to review the daily LRP site for new information.
Find the DESE Office of Special Education Compliance COVID-19 Related School Reopening and Distance Learning Question and Answer Guide at https://dese.mo.gov/communications/coronavirus-covid-19-information in the Special Education Information and Guidance section (for a direct link to the Q&A, go to https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/se-Covid-19-Reopening-Distance-Learning-QA.pdf).
For more information and Q&A updates provided by DESE on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit https://dese.mo.gov/communications/coronavirus-covid-19-information
Form G and updates to the IEP Form are designed to capture information provided by parents and school staff members relevant to providing access to educational services during school closures. Read more.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services
- The United States Department of Health and Human Services has issued a statement titled: Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency
- Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID–19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency
- COVID-19 Workforce Virtual Toolkit: Resources for Healthcare Decision-Makers Responding to COVID-19 Workforce Concerns
The United States Department of Education
The United States Department of Education provides guidance on accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing online learning. For more information please visit https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-webinar-fact-sheet-protecting-students-civil-rights-during-covid-19-response.
State of Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance
The following Bulletin is issued by the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance to inform and educate the reader on the issue regarding provision of services via telehealth. View the Bulletin.
Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts
Listed below are the waivers that have been approved as a result of Executive Orders (Executive Order 20-02 and Executive Order 20-04). Licensed professionals who wish to come to Missouri to assist with COVID-19 are not required to meet the requirements listed in the table below if their practice is solely related to COVID-19. For professionals seeking licensure in Missouri on a permanent basis all statute, rules and regulations continue to apply. For individuals who hold a retired or inactive license, you may return to practice to assist solely with COVID-19; however, if you wish to practice beyond COVID-19, the following waivers do not apply. View the list of waivers.
The Board is monitoring state and national developments on COVID-19. Licensees should monitor the Board’s website for important updates.
Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
ED released FERPA & Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] (March 2020). This new guidance from ED on student privacy provides clarity about the requirements of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as it pertains to COVID-19, as well as a sample informed consent form. Another privacy law to consider is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which addresses the confidentiality of protected health information. The Joint Guidance on the Application of FERPA and HIPAA to Student Health Records provides examples of instances in which an educational agency or institution can be subject to both FERPA and HIPAA or HIPAA alone. See information under the Telepractice Considerations section below about the relaxation of HIPAA penalties.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
American Academy of Audiology (AAA)
MSHA will disseminate additional information when it becomes available.
The information contained on this webpage is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of posting. The web page is informational only and may change without notice at any time. It should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for issues of legal significance.