A rule change in New York City’s department of education last week quietly allows yeshivos for the first time to offer special education services even on Sundays and legal holidays.
The rule change, announced in an Agudath Israel statement, eases an ongoing frustration to yeshivos and parents of special needs students, who until now were required to follow the public school calendar. This meant that on days that yeshivos were open but public schools were closed, therapists, health paraprofessionals and resource room teachers could not provide services, because they would not have been reimbursed for their work.
Thanks to the advocacy of Project LEARN, Agudah’s special ed division, the city will now allow therapists, SEITs and special ed providers to work whenever they want, provided that the total number of billable hours do not exceed the maximum number allocated for the school year.
Yeshivos must also still adhere to a 180-day school calendar, beginning no earlier than Sept. 1 and ending no later than June 30.
“The new policy means that schools that elect to start before Labor Day can start services immediately, and that students with special needs won’t have their schedules disrupted because of public school vacations or holidays,” says Mrs. Leah Steinberg, director of Project LEARN.