In addition to the alternative forms of dispute resolution under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the two decisional avenues are adjudicative and investigative. The adjudicative avenue starts with a due process hearing (DPH) and culminates in court proceedings. The investigative avenue is the written state complaints (WSC) process, which provides for judicial appeals in only the minority of states (e.g., Zirkel, 2019). COVID-19 represents a new context of the ongoing issues that are subject to resolution in these two decisional avenues. It is both practically and legally “unprecedented.” The purpose of this briefing paper is to provide a snapshot of the DPH and WSC activity specific to COVID-19 issues based on a state-by-state survey at the approximate six-month point of the pandemic. The succeeding sections provide (a) the overall legal framework; (b) a synthesis of baseline and concurrent legal activity; (c) the method and findings of the survey; and (d) a discussion including interpretation and implications of these findings.
Zirkel, Perry and Jones, Natalie