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IDEA Class Action Brought Against All U.S. School Districts is Dismissed

On July 28, 2020, a complaint was brought in the Southern District of New York, in the case J.T. v. de Blasio, against every school district in the United States alleging that all are or have violated the IDEA when deciding to close schools in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Plaintiffs not…

special education IEPs

Tips to ensure virtual MDRs go smoothly

While manifestation determination reviews can sometimes become heated if parents disagree about the student’s misconduct being a manifestation of his disability, the nature of a virtual MDR may defuse tense feelings and keep participants focused on the matter at hand. “It’s harder to interrupt on [a videoconference] than when you’re in person,” said Alana Leffler,…

403(b) Plan

New Notice Requirement to Employees Regarding Unemployment Benefits

Starting on November 2, 2020, Wisconsin employers must notify employees of the availability of Unemployment Insurance (UI) at the time of separation of employment. Separation of employment can include termination for misconduct, layoffs, and furloughs. This notice, however, does not guarantee that an employee will be eligible to receive UI Benefits, but requires the employer…

Employee Benefits Update: IRS Benefit Plan Limitations

Earlier this morning, the Internal Revenue Service issued various retirement plan limitations for 2021. Some of the most important limits remain unchanged from 2020: Elective Deferral Limit: $19,500 (unchanged from 2020) Catch-Up Contributions: $6,500 (unchanged from 2020) 415 (Total) Plan Limit: $58,000 (increased from $57,000 in 2020) Compensation Limit: $290,000 (increased from $285,000 in 2020)…


CDC Expands Definition of “Close Contact”

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) expanded on the definition of “close contact” for purposes of tracing cases of COVID-19, based on a new study. Previously, the CDC’s definition of “close contact” included individuals who spent 15 minutes or more within six feet of an individual infected with COVID-19. Now,…

Special Education during COVID-19

U.S. Department of Education Releases Additional Guidance on COVID-19 Disclosures

On September 24, 2020, the United States Department of Education released additional guidance related to disclosures of COVID-19 cases within schools. The Q&A reminds schools of the Department’s prior guidance in March of 2020, related to disclosure of student information, and highlights the most common questions related to this topic. This Legal Update will summarize…

OCR Releases New Q&A Guidance for K-12 Public Schools Regarding Educating Students with Disabilities during COVID-19

On September 28, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published thirteen questions and answers pertaining to public schools in the current COVID-19 environment. While this document is not legally binding, it gives insight into the OCR’s position on various new topics. The OCR references the newest CDC guidance which encourages local communities…


Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist

As we reviewed in a previous Legal Update, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations establishing requirements for a school district’s response to reports of sexual harassment in its programs or activities.  The new regulations went into effect on August 14, 2020, as schools were inundated with issues related to COVID-19 and school…

Special Education during COVID-19

Ensure Substitute Teachers Are Aware of Accommodations in IEPs and 504 Plans

In a previous Legal Update, we discussed the importance of ensuring that regular education teachers, including substitute teachers, have access to their students’ IEPs and are aware of the specific accommodations and/or modifications that must be provided pursuant to the IEP in the regular education setting. This is especially critical during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when…

403(b) Plan

Governor Evers Reissues Mask Order and Declares New Public Health Emergency

Today, September 22, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers declared a new Public Health Emergency and issued a new face covering Emergency Order requiring individuals to wear face coverings when indoors, except in a private residence or when no one else is present. Both orders are effective immediately and will expire on November 21, 2020 or with a…

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