Office of Special Services
625 Route 517
Vernon, NJ 07462
As we prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, the Vernon Township Office of Special Services has been working diligently to ensure that special education programs and related services are facilitated in a manner that provides for the needs of our diverse learners and prioritizes student safety. We understand that Vernon’s parents and guardians have the daunting responsibility of deciding whether to send students to school in-person or receive instruction remotely. No matter what you decide, the Office of Special Services is committed to providing meaningful special education programming and related services to all of our students with disabilities.
The foremost responsibility of the Office of Special Services is to ensure we meet our obligations to students with disabilities to the greatest extent possible while prioritizing student safety as per guidance from the NJ Department of Education’s The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education and the US Department of Education. To this end, we offer the following FAQ to provide you with answers to commonly asked questions.
As each student’s IEP is different and the FAQ is not exhaustive, please feel free to contact your child’s case manager or special education administrator with any questions you may have. We understand the uncertainty many of our students and families are feeling as we approach September and are here to help you. We are confident that by working together and maintaining collaborative home/school partnerships, our students will experience success.
Adam Kendler Cheryl von Salzen
Special Services Supervisor PS-5 Special Services Supervisor, 6-12
Please note that information is subject to change based upon guidance from the US Department of Education, NJ Department of Education, district reopening plan, and ongoing collaboration with stakeholders. Updates to the FAQ will be posted online in real time so please check the Office of Special Services website regularly.
Q: Will Child Study Team and/or IEP meetings be in-person or held remotely?
A: CST/IEP meetings will continue to be conducted remotely to minimize the risk of person-to-person contact and spreading COVID. Examination and discussion of IEPs and related documents are readily accommodated via the “share screen” feature of the virtual platform. All signatures will be collected digitally or through scanning/faxing if available.
Q: How will CST evaluations take place?
A: CST assessments and evaluations will take place in-person with a member of the child study team e.g. Speech/Language Therapist, School Psychologist, School Social Worker, Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist and/or any other discipline consented to at the evaluation planning meeting. If in-person testing is not required for certain assessments, such as a social history, they may be conducted remotely.
Q: How will my child’s IEP be implemented?
A: Your child’s IEP will be implemented in-person and/or remotely to the maximum extent possible in conjunction with Vernon’s reopening plan and guidance from the NJ Department of Education’s The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education and the US Department of Education. All special education programs are being offered in-person and remotely including, Preschool Disabilities (PSD), Autism (AUT), Life Skills, Learning and/or Language Disabilities (LLD), Pull-Out Resource (POR), and In-Class Resource (ICR). Students in self-contained classes (PSD, AUT, Life Skills, BD & LLD) have the option of attending up to 4 days per week in-person or completely virtual. Students in POR, ICR, and general education classes will attend in-person with their assigned blue/gold cohort or completely virtual. IEP modifications and accommodations will be implemented as written to the maximum extent possible.
Q: How will my child receive related services?
A: Related services, including speech/language therapy, occupation therapy, physical therapy, and school-based counseling will be offered both in-person and remotely. Students who opt for remote instruction only will have the option to receive in-person related services if transported by a parent/guardian. This can be scheduled directly with your child’s related service provider.
Q: Are students required to wear masks at school?
A: All students are required to wear masks during the school day and on district transportation as directed by the NJDOE in their August 3rd Update to Conditions of Learning, Health and Safety, “Critical Area of Operation #5: Screening, PPE, and Response to Students and Staff Presenting Symptoms” and “Critical Area of Operation #3: Transportation unless doing so would inhibit the student’s health or be impractical for young children or students with disabilities. Please see the above document or contact the Office of Special Services with any questions or concerns regarding masks and face coverings. All students are expected to provide their own face coverings.
Q: How will my child’s social/emotional needs be supported during this time?
A: The social/emotional needs of our students are of the utmost importance as we navigate the return to school. Your child will have ongoing access to Vernon’s district and building-based professionals including school psychologists, school social workers, guidance counselors, and the newly established Trauma-Informed Education Team which has a presence in each school building.
Q: What if I have questions pertaining to my child’s program and services?
A: The child study team and Office of Special Services are here to assist you with any questions or concerns you have regarding your child’s special education program, related services, and IEP. Your first point of contact should be your child’s case manager and/or teacher or related service provider. If you need further assistance please reach out to our special education administrators, Adam Kendler for PK-5th grade and Cheryl von Salzen for 6th-12th grade.
Q: Where can I find helpful resources?
A: The Vernon Township Special Education Reopening Committee has prepared a presentation and list of resources for parents. The resource list is included with this mailing and will be posted on the Department of Special Services webpage along with the presentation.
All referenced materials can be retrieved from the NJ Department of Education’s “Road Back” webpage: https://www.nj.gov/education/reopening/
The Office of Special Services strives to improve educational performance and life skills of all students with disabilities through appropriate involvement with their peers in the academic setting and involvement within the community. Our goal is to help students with disabilities acquire skills to assume responsibilities within their community and the ability to care for their own environment.
For a copy of N.J.A.C. 1:6A – New Jersey Administrative Code, Title 1, Chapter 6A – Special Education, please click on the link.
For a copy of New Jersey Department of Education Parental Rights in Special Education, please click on the link.