Virginia Education Law: When is something reasonably calculated for virtual?

In person, hybrid, and virtual. The education landscape is currently a labyrinthine minefield that would even put Theseus to shame. One constant in this ever shifting landscape is that special education students are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education or FAPE for short.

This requirement is in the forefront of the minds of all parents of children receiving special education services, especially for those in a hybrid or virtual setting. The time period of March to June of 2020 consisted of emergency actions and were not reflective of the services that are capable of being provided to special education students during this current school year in a virtual environment. The leeway that schools were provided during that time period is no longer being afforded to them. Due to this, in any meeting with your child’s school there is the one magical work you need to ask constantly, “why?”

The school’s response to “why” will determine if they are or are not currently providing your child a FAPE. If the school is able to provide a cogent and responsive explanation for the decisions then the IEP at issue is providing a FAPE. An explanation is not responsive and cogent if they expect the same IEP that previously failed to provide academic progress to be able to now provide it despite no changes to indicate it will work or do not base their decision off of any of the available data and information.

Currently many students have experienced some level of virtual education. This change to a virtual environment is one which needs to be considered in an IEP team meeting – to determine if the current plan is reasonably calculated for the student to receive a free and appropriate education – whether in person or virtual.

If you have any questions about special education, or advocating for your child’s educational needs, including when putting an IEP in place, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or 804-423-1382 to schedule an initial consultation.  We would like to help.