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Special Education Students Are Losing Critical Skills During Coronavirus Remote Learning, Parents Say

Parents across the country who have students with special education needs say the stakes are high if schools do not reopen soon. They say their children are not just falling behind academically but are missing developmental milestones and losing key skills necessary for an independent life.

In the conversations about whether to reopen school buildings — or even how to shape virtual learning — parents of special education students fear that the unique needs of their children are not being urgently considered. Their children are often in self-contained classrooms with just six students, and the parents believe there are ways to safely educate them offline, even if the entire student population isn’t ready to go back.

It’s a predicament that highlights just how complicated it will be to return to classrooms. Teachers — whose unions have been protesting the return to in-person classes — say this is the population of students who require the most hugs and comforting back rubs and who could struggle to follow social distancing and mask rules meant to limit the spread of the virus.

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