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Civil Rights and School Reopening in the COVID-19 Environment

Helping schools reopen safely and in ways that support equity among students is a top priority for the Department of Education. The purpose of this question-and-answer document is to help students, families, schools, and the public support all students’ rights in educational environments, including in elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance addresses schools’ responsibilities to students with disabilities in remote, hybrid and in-person situations, touching on everything from the right to a free appropriate public education to handling children who are unable to wear masks or maintain social distance.