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Learning To Ask ? UPDATED

All students deserve to learn in an environment where they feel they belong, where they have their identity affirmed, where they are engaged and have agency in their learning, and where they receive the social, emotional, mental, and physical supports they need to learn, develop, and thrive. Students from vulnerable and systematically neglected populations have faced and will continue to experience additional challenges that impede their learning due to the pandemic.

Learning to ask – UPDATED


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unfinished instruction that will affect most students, but will have a disproportionate impact on students from historically marginalized populations. In recognition of this gap, the ARP requires that districts spend at least 20% of the funding they receive to address unfinished instruction, particularly for the most underserved students impacted by COVID-19. Because these inequities did not begin a year ago, districts and schools should prepare to accelerate student learning for many months, and possibly even years, to come. These briefs from Ed Trust and MDRC can help district and school leaders make critical decisions on how to implement evidence-based strategies to accelerate learning, including

Schools and early care and education (ECE) programs are an important part of the infrastructure of communities as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students and children and enable parents and caregivers to be at work. Schools and ECE programs like Head Start also provide critical services that help to mitigate health disparities, such as school lunch programs, and social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. This guidance can help K-12 schools and ECE programs remain open and help their administrators support safe, in-person learning while reducing the spread of COVID-19. Based on the COVID-19 Community Levels, this guidance provides flexibility so schools and ECE programs can adapt to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from COVID-19.

Schools and ECE programs play critical roles in promoting equity in learning and health, particularly for groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. People living in rural areas, people with disabilities, immigrants, and people who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These disparities have also emerged among children. School and ECE administrators and public health officials can promote equity in learning and health by demonstrating to families, teachers, and staff that comprehensive prevention strategies are in place to keep students, staff, families, and school communities safe and provide supportive environments for in-person learning. Reasonable modifications or accommodations, when necessary, must be provided to ensure equal access to in-person learning for students with disabilities.

Though this guidance is written for COVID-19 prevention, many of the layered prevention strategies described in this guidance can help prevent the spread of other infectious diseases, such as influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and norovirus, and support healthy learning environments for all. The next section describes everyday preventive actions that schools and ECE programs can take.

In accordance with applicable laws and regulations, schools and ECE programs should allow flexible, non-punitive, and supportive paid sick leave policies and practices. These policies should support workers caring for a sick family member and encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of retaliation, loss of pay, loss of employment, or other negative impacts. Schools should also provide excused absences for students who are sick, avoid policies that incentivize coming to school while sick, and support children who are learning at home if they are sick. Schools and ECE programs should ensure that employees and families are aware of and understand these policies and avoid language that penalizes or stigmatizes staying home when sick.

When the COVID-19 Community Level indicates an increase, particularly if the level is high or the school or ECE program is experiencing an outbreak, schools or ECE programs should consider adding layered prevention strategies, described below, to maintain safe, in-person learning and keep ECE programs safely open. Although most strategies are recommended to be added or increased at a high COVID-19 Community Level, schools might want to consider adding layers when at medium, such as those in the Considerations for Prioritizing Strategies section below, based on school and community characteristics.

Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. In schools and ECE settings, which are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings, people who were exposed to COVID-19 should follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested. K-12 school and ECE administrators can decide how to manage exposures based on the local context and benefits of preserving access to in-person learning. Accommodations may be necessary for exposed people who cannot wear a mask or have difficulty wearing a well-fitting mask. Schools and ECE programs can also consider recommending masking and/or testing for a classroom in which a student was recently exposed who is unable to consistently and correctly wear a mask.

One of the questions JAN often receives from employers is whether they can ask for current medical documentation when an employee with a learning disability provides documentation that dates back to high school. The answer is that in some cases, the old documentation is sufficient. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), when an employee requests an accommodation and the employee's disability and need for accommodation are not obvious, the employer can ask for documentation to show that the employee actually has a disability and really needs the requested accommodation.

Typically, documentation that shows an employee has a disability comes from a medical doctor. However, learning disabilities are not diagnosed by medical doctors; they are usually diagnosed by a psychologist through the use of intelligence testing, as well as academic achievement testing most often done at a school by an educational psychologist. Many children and adolescents with learning difficulties are referred to a multidisciplinary team at school by teachers who have noticed and documented difficulties. There are also adults who come to realize over the course of their careers the increasing difficulties they have with job tasks. Sometimes when jobs change individuals realize that the difficulties they are having are more in-depth than adjusting to a new job with added or different tasks.

Certain medical conditions change and limitations may fluctuate over time, therefore current or relatively recent documentation is recommended when evaluating whether an employee has a disability and what accommodations might be effective. However, because learning and intellectual disabilities are lifelong and static, no updated documentation should be needed if the individual was tested or re-evaluated at or above the age of eighteen. Most public school systems will re-evaluate students during the senior year of high school so that the student will have the most current documentation for the transition-to-work process. The most comprehensive documentation will be in the form of a psychological-educational report, and will include a description of testing results, performance levels, and areas of strength and weakness. Probably the most useful information for employers will be in the summary and conclusions section at the end.

For individuals who cannot locate past documentation of a learning disability diagnosis and limitations, JAN recommends talking with the primary care physician for a referral to a psychologist who can perform the testing and provide the needed documentation. Many insurance policies do not pay for this type of evaluation and the burden to provide and pay for the medical documentation falls on the individual, not the employer. If paying for testing is a problem, JAN recommends individuals contact either the local vocational rehabilitation office or the nearest university with a doctoral psychology department to see if either can provide the needed services to obtain the evaluation. Vocational rehabilitation services are provided at no cost to the individual, whereas a university often charges on a sliding pay scale, which may be more affordable than a more formal evaluation from a licensed psychologist.

Developers participating in Ask Apple can inquire about a variety of topics, such as testing on the latest seeds; implementing new and updated frameworks from Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC); adopting new features like the Dynamic Island; moving to Swift, SwiftUI, and accessibility; and preparing their apps for new OS and hardware releases. Ask Apple is free of charge and registration is open to all members of the Apple Developer Program and the Apple Developer Enterprise Program.

This series will enable developers to ask questions to various Apple team members through Q&As on Slack or in one-on-one office hours. Q&As allow developers to connect with Apple evangelists, engineers, and designers to get their questions answered, share their learnings, and engage with other developers around the world. Office hours are focused on creating and distributing compelling apps that take advantage of the latest in technology and design. Developers can ask for code-level assistance, design guidance, input on implementing technologies and frameworks, advice on resolving issues, or help with App Review Guidelines and distribution tools. Office hours will be hosted in time zones around the world and in multiple languages.


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