NYC is promising expanded special education services after school and on Saturdays

By: | July 28, 2021

For thousands of students with disabilities in New York City, the pandemic upended crucial services, from physical and occupational therapies that were difficult to deliver remotely, to special education classes that were suddenly virtual and staffed by one teacher instead of two.

In an acknowledgment that these disruptions have knocked many children off track, city officials announced earlier this month that every student with an individualized education program — or roughly 200,000 children with disabilities — will be eligible for extra special education programming after school and on Saturdays in addition to whatever services they normally receive.

The program is the widest-reaching effort so far to address learning gaps for students with disabilities caused by the pandemic. And it has won praise from some advocates who see the move as a proactive step to provide extra help rather than relying on families to file legal complaints through a backlogged administrative process that can impose financial costs and take many months to resolve.

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