- Onslow County School District
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Exceptional Children Services
- Department Overview
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Exceptional Children Services
The Onslow County School System is committed to providing our students with appropriate and individualized educational experiences focused on academics and meeting the needs of students to acquire academic, life, and job skills to be successful after high school.
If you have questions about our special education offerings, please contact us at 910-455-2211 ext. 20224.
Return to School & COVID Frequently Asked Questions
OCS Exceptional Children Services “FAQs” (Frequently Asked Questions) can be found below and as new information
becomes available, the "FAQs" are updated as soon as
COVID Related Questions- 9/2021 Update
Does having an IEP, 504 Plan or specialized medical care plan exempt a student from mask requirements?
The CDC has determined that individuals with disabilities MIGHT be exempt from mask requirements based upon factors specific to those individuals. Students who are served through an IEP, 504 Plan, or an established medical care plan who have situations that would make a face covering harmful, inadvisable, impractical, or dangerous are exempt from the mask mandate. If there are any questions about a mask exemption in these cases, contact the school principal.
The district mask guidelines require medical documentation in order to be exempt. Is that true if a student already has an individualized plan on file (i.e. IEP, 504)?
If there is a plan in place and the student's individual situation makes a face covering harmful, inadvisable, impractical, or dangerous, additional medical documentation is not necessary. Before becoming concerned, contact the school principal for assistance if there is any concern.
Some students have difficulty tolerating a mask. Do those children have the right to attend school without a mask?
This issue, like most special education issues, has two sides. We want children educated in a way that will help them the most, and for many, in-person learning works best. We also have a need to keep everyone safe from the spread of Covid-19. Not wearing a mask creates some additional risk. But as currently interpreted, YES, if there is a special circumstance that exists for a student with an IEP or 504, they are still entitled to an appropriate education. If a student has a disability which makes him or her unable to tolerate a face covering in the same way as a child without disabilities, the child is entitled to reasonable accommodations. For example, some children with autism cannot tolerate anything on their head. Therefore, an accommodation must be made.
My child may qualify for an accommodation to the mask mandate. Other than not wearing one, are there alternatives that can be used? Is there any assistance for an alternative?
If it has been established that a child cannot tolerate a face covering, the accommodation would depend on the needs of the child. Perhaps a student can tolerate a face covering for 30 minutes at a time followed by a mask break. Every situation is unique. The point is that a child with a disability can access his or her education, but one cannot make an unreasonable request for accommodations. There is a balance, and reasonable parents and administrators may be able to find that balance. If there is a special alternative is needed, (i.e. clear mask, face shield, etc.), a request can be made to the Director of EC for consideration.
How will services be provided IF schools are required to close face-to-face options?
If the Governor or another governing authority issues an order to change in person attendance to remote learning, your child will receive his/her core instruction as well as IEP services through virtual means only.
With students back in full, 5-days per week of in-person, can IEP meetings still be held virtually?
Meaningful participation for parents/guardians is vital. We would prefer for meetings to be held in person when feasible, but meetings can be virtual. If a parent requests a virtual IEP meeting, staff is encouraged to participate around the table at the school site with the parent participating virtually (similar to phone participation). Meaningful participation (parent concerns/statements) should be documented all throughout the IEP.
Where do we go to get information for EC families?
EC Covid Related Frequently Asked Questions - September 2020
Exceptional Children Frequently Asked Questions 9-8-20
What is a Contingency Plan? And why do students need a Contingency Plan?
A Contingency Plan is developed as a result of the special factors related to NC School Building Re- Opening Plans. The re-opening Plans A, B, or C are meant to be fluid and transitional.
The creation and implementation of a Contingency Plan is recommended but not required by NCDPI.
The Contingency Plan becomes part of a student’s IEP and is triggered upon local and/or statewide announcement ordering Plan B or Plan C.
Upon initiation of a Contingency Plan, the parent/guardian/student will be provided a prior written notice with the anticipated implementation date of Plan B or Plan C, as applicable.
Students with an IEP may need a Contingency Plan in order to accurately document services that will be delivered in alignment with their IEP. If the student’s IEP cannot be implemented as written during any of the Re-Opening plans, teams must address the variance with the Contingency Plan.
What services were provided to students when school buildings closed due to COVID-19 last school year?
During the period of school building closure from March 18-June 9, Onslow County Schools continued to provide core followed by supplemental instruction to students remotely. IEP services were also delivered by teachers of Exceptional Children and related services providers.
What is the difference between compensatory education and recovery services?
Compensatory education is generally regarded by the courts as a remedy for a denial of FAPE, a free appropriate public education, either in the design of the educational program or in its implementation. All students were offered options to access their services during the time when buildings were closed due to COVID. Learning continued from home remotely under the direction of educators.
We will continue to provide recovery services to help with gaps in student learning. Recovery services began with elementary Jump Start this summer. Also, the school year was increased from 180 days to 185 days. Recovery services may look like additional service delivery time based on data, IEP goal adjustment or additional accommodations/modifications.
Will the district provide recovery services to all students?
Not every student will need an adjustment to his/her current IEP services and/or recovery services. Some students will progress appropriately while learning from home remotely. Others will experience significant regression. In each case, the IEP team must closely examine the student’s progress or regression, craft accurate present levels of performance, and provide services based on the needs established by the data.
My child regressed during remote learning last year. What can be done to address this regression?
The child's IEP Team will need to determine present levels of performance as a prerequisite to designing program and placement. This present level should be derived from a collection of baseline date and a comparison to the child’s data pre-COVID 19. Parents, who have been carefully tracking performance during the period of remote learning, should have a significant voice in determining the current level of performance. If the student's current performance represents regression, the IEP Team will be obliged to provide more intense services than those provided in the prior IEP.
EC Covid Related Frequently Asked Questions - July 2020
Exceptional Children Services
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child receive instruction from her general education teacher and EC Teacher during the hybrid (remote and face to face) format under plan B?
As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, we want to keep in mind that ALL students are first and foremost general education students. Therefore, it is crucial that students receive solid core instruction. Students with IEPs also receive specialized instruction as outlined in their IEPs above and beyond core instruction provided by the general education teacher.
What tools are available to my child during remote learning?
Remote learning will include the OCS common curricular tool for K-8 math, students have physical Ready textbooks. As of late, Math 1, 2, and 3, physical texts have been purchased to accommodate students with exceptional needs. Individual schools will supply the current ELA tools they are utilizing. Devices will be issued for K-12 students starting with high schools.
I had difficulty helping my child with the remote learning and completing assignments. Is there someone I can contact for assistance? Is there a helpline?
If you are having difficulty, please reach out to your child’s teacher. There are video tutorials and support tools posted on the OCS website https://www.onslow.k12.nc.us/domain/9123
Will there still be Specials/Encore (Art, Music, PE) with Option B?
Yes, however it may look different than prior to COVID.
Will the school be providing a device for my child to access virtual instruction/services?
Devices have been purchased for all students. We will begin device delivery as soon as possible after August 17th.
Plan B-Option 1
Who decides what kind of services my child will need with the hybrid (face to face/remote) model?
Whether the instruction is virtual or face to face, as required by legislation, all decisions will continue to be made by the IEP Team in an IEP meeting. The IEP Team will consider the student's present level of performance (review of data collection on current level of performance), service delivery times, accommodations & modifications, etc. to determine if the current IEP meets the student's current needs and is appropriate in regard to remote learning and face to face or the Onslow Virtual School. These meetings will be held at the beginning of this school year. The North Carolina Public Schools didn’t require we meet during the school system closure. Onslow County Schools continued to meet as team members were available. Some employees are 10 months.
How will students enrolled in Occupational Course of Study earn the work hours required for graduation while participating in Option B?
While students are on school campuses under Option B, the staff and teachers in the Occupational Course of Study programs will try to provide students the work opportunities needed for graduation hours (dependent on the status of the program’s community partners). Also, since the Occupational Course of Study is a course of study designated by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), we will need to wait for further information from NCDPI to see if an hour reduction or other requirement adjustment will be permitted for the rising seniors (Class of 2021).
What support is provided for EC students for remote learning?
The IEP will be followed while students are on remote learning. It is likely that an IEP meeting will need to be held to adjust services, accommodations and modifications with consideration being given to the virtual environment.
I need childcare for my child, so part time does not work logistically for my family. Can my child receive services at the babysitter’s instead of coming to school?
Yes, as long as a responsible adult is available to each student during remote learning instruction and the location and time are consistent.
What will be offered on days my child does not attend school?
Students will access remote learning opportunities on days that they are not in attendance at a brick and mortar school.
Do we need to have an IEP meeting to adjust their IEP goals and service time if they only attend in person two days as outlined in Plan B?If the IEP can be implemented as written, there is no need for a meeting to only adjust service time. However, an IEP meeting may need to be held to determine the student’s present level of academic and functional performance. Teachers will begin collecting baseline data once students are present. Data will be used guide decisions.
My pre-K child usually attended school on Mon/Wed./ Fri, when will he/she now attend?
Pre-K students will attend both cohorts. All students will receive remoted instruction on Wednesdays across the district. (TBD)
Will EC students be permitted to attend school on Wednesday?
No, Wednesdays will be a remote learning day for all OCS students.
If the Governor changes to Plan C, what will my child receive?
If the Governor issues another executive order to change in person attendance to remote learning, your child will receive his/her core instruction as well as their IEP services through virtual means only.
Do we continue to implement Behavior Intervention Plan or Behavior Support Plan virtually?
The IEP team will make the determination about the need for a Behavior Intervention Plan or a Behavior Support Plan based on the student’s needs. If the student attends the Onslow Virtual School, it is likely that the plan would need to be adjusted for a virtual setting.
Which cohort is my child in? Do they attend Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday?
Your child’s school will communicate this information to you before school begins.
If my child only attends school in person two days, must his/her speech services be on the in-person days? (I don’t want them to miss time out of their class).
Options for scheduling can be discussed with the speech therapist assigned to your child.
Can I opt for all virtual services? And if so, will that be for the entire school year or can I choose when to access face to face instruction at a later date?
Currently, the options for service are under Plan B with Cohort attendance. The Onslow Virtual School is an option for full time virtual attendance with a year-long commitment for K-12 students. If your child has a medical condition that would prohibit attendance during Plan B, the IEP team can consider alternative service options.
Do we modify specialized transportation based on Plan B?
Yes, if a student is eligible to receive specialized transportation, he/she will receive this service on the days he/she is scheduled to attend.
Do we only collect data on cohort specific days?Data collection should be collected both in-person and virtually.
What does instruction look like for EC students on Remote Learning days?
EC Students will participate in their general education classes and receive their specially designed instruction and related services in accordance with the IEP.
IEPs and Evaluations
Last school year we had an IEP meeting remotely. I signed consent for my child to be tested. When will he/she be tested?
When Governor Cooper placed the stay at home order in March, evaluations that would have been conducted through the end of the school year were placed on hold. The NCDPI stated that school systems were not required to conduct in person evaluations until building reopened for students. OCS had over 600 students in the testing process with many students needing multiple evaluations. This summer, OCS took a very proactive approach by establishing 5 evaluation hubs employing over 40 related service providers and specialists in order to provide an extremely prompt response to evaluation requests that occurred during the 2019-2020 school year. IEP Teams have continued to conduct IEP meetings during the time school has been closed.
Will IEP meetings be held virtually?
Meaningful participation for parents/guardians will be vital when taking into account NC social distancing guidelines. We would prefer for meetings to be held in person when feasible. If a parent requests a virtual IEP meeting, staff is encouraged to participate around the table at the school site with the parent participating virtually (similar to phone participation). Meaningful participation (parent concerns/statements) should be documented all throughout the IEP.
When can we start having IEP meetings?
The North Carolina Department of Instruction stated school districts were not required to hold IEP’s once Governor Cooper set the stay at home order in March. Onslow did continue to hold IEP meetings as the availability of personnel allowed. IEP meetings can be held as soon as all team members are available to attend. We can expect that many meetings will be scheduled for the workdays due to the availability of school employees on a 10-month schedule.
My child has a one-on-one. Will he/she still have the one on one?
For face to face instruction, if your child has intensive support in his/her IEP, yes, this supplementary service will continue to be provided as required.
Where do we go to get information for EC families?
Information is available on the OCS website under Exceptional Children Services. Website link:
OCSS Exceptional Children
You can also visit the Department of Public Instruction. Website Link:
North Carolina Department of Instruction
In the past my child was pulled out to the EC Resource classroom for EC services. It sounds like students may stay all day in their classrooms. How will resource services be implemented?
It is likely that that IEP team will need to convene to determine the most appropriate way to deliver services during Cohort attendance. While we plan to reduce the number of transitions for each student during their school day, we are also obligated to provide the services required by the student’s IEP.
My child has regressed not being in a school building since March. How will his teacher know how much he has regressed? How will his teacher know his present levels?
Teachers will promptly collect baseline data to determine each student’s present level of performance. This data will be compared to the pre-COVID data to determine the student’s level of progress during remote learning.
My child’s daycare said that the teacher and therapists cannot see my child at the daycare. How will the IEP be met?
Alternative arrangements can be discussed for service delivery. However, in person services must be delivered during a traditional school day and school week.
My child has a comprised immune system/health issues and he/she does not do well with remote learning? What can be done for him?
The Onslow Virtual School is an option for full time virtual attendance with a year-long commitment for K-12 students. If your child has a medical condition that would prohibit attendance during Plan B, the IEP team can consider alternative service options.
Will my child receive his related services? What will those services look like if he is only in the school building two days a week?
Yes, if your child has related services on his/her IEP, the services will be provided as written unless the IEP team determines otherwise.
If a student has a private school service plan, can they come to a campus to receive services?
The IEP team makes the determination for the location of services when the private school service plan is developed.
Will EC students get Compensatory Services?Teachers will collect baseline data to determine each student’s present level of performance. This data will be compared to the pre-COVID data to determine the student’s level of progress during remote learning. Goals, services, accommodations, modifications etc. will be adjusted based on student need. OCS, like many other school systems, began recovery services through Jumpstart for elementary students. Once the Governor issued an executive order to close schools for students in response to COVID 19 in March, we continued to provide core instruction, secondary and intensive layers of support.
Health and Safety
What will happen if my child’s teacher or another student in her/his class gets COVID- 19?
OCS will follow the guidance provided by the Onslow County Health Department and NCDHHS.
My child will not wear a mask. Will he/she get in trouble since he has a disability?
Executive Order 147 does not require Face Coverings for someone who:
Should not wear a face covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance).
My child has anxiety about coming back to the school building. How will teachers and staff be addressing the social and emotional issues of students?
We are aware that many students and parents are anxious about returning to schools. Staff members (counselors, nurses, school psychologists, teachers etc.) will handle student needs on an individual basis with the utmost care and concern.
Can the therapist(s) serve my child in the classroom instead of taking them to the therapy room?
Therapists will schedule services while trying to limit cross contamination across multiple environments. It is likely that some services will be delivered in the student’s classroom.
Onslow Virtual School
Is my child eligible to attend the Onslow Virtual School if he has an IEP?
All students have the option to attend the Online Virtual School. Health and safety may be of heightened concern for students and family members with compromised immune systems. Through a virtual school, IEP services, accommodations and modifications would be determined by the IEP team based on data. All services will be provided in a virtual platform if parents choose this option.
If my child is enrolled in Occupational Course of Study and we (parent/guardian/student) elect to participate in Onslow Virtual School (OVS), will my student be able to stay in their program of study?
Any student is eligible to enroll in OVS. Since the OVS will be providing online instruction only, the IEP team will need to meet in order to determine if the student will be able to complete all program requirements needed for graduation while enrolled in OVS.
Since the North Carolina Virtual Public School’s (NCVPS) calendar does not align with the start date of Onslow County School’s school year, will my child’s course be affected?
No, we in Onslow County Schools are working with NCVPS to have students be on the same course schedule in our county without adverse effects.
What do EC Services in Onslow Virtual School look like?
The IEP team will determine the services, accommodations, modifications etc. that the student requires to access the curriculum. All services will be delivered virtually by designated school staff.
If EC students are enrolled in the Onslow Virtual School, can they come on campus to receive direct services (i.e. academic, related services, braille, behavior)?
No, if parents choose to enroll in the Onslow Virtual School, all services will be delivered virtually.
Will IEP Transition meetings for students enrolled in the Onslow Virtual School be held?
If a student’s IEP cannot be implemented as written as a student transitions to the Onslow Virtual School, yes, a transition meeting will be scheduled.