Since its inception in 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a devasting impact on the world community. The majority of the responses to COVID- 19 in the United States have been hearing-centric and thus have failed to take into consideration the needs of the D/deaf community, specifically within education. As a result, COVID-19 had a disproportional negative impact on K-12 students who are D/deaf. The switch to online learning during COVID-19 highlighted the problems within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), an Act intended to provide students with disabilities public education. To protect the education of students who are D/deaf in COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 times, reform to IDEA is necessary. This Note first argues that Congress should amend IDEA to expressly declare that the Board of Education v. Rowley, which holds that schools do not have to provide students who are disabled with an education as beneficial as the student’s peers who are non-disabled, is no longer the correct interpretation. Congress should expressly state in a reauthorization of IDEA that IDEA entitles students with disabilities to an equally beneficial education to that given to their peers who are non-disabled. Second, this Note argues that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the popularization of virtual learning, Congress should amend IDEA to expressly apply in all online models of education.
Emma E. Sealey, Amending IDEA in Light of COVID-19 and the State of D/deaf Education, 26 J. Gender, Race & Just. 491 (2023).