Growing Concern About How The Latest CMS Back To School Plan Will Impact Students With Disabilities And Their Teachers

CHARLOTTE, NC. —  Sheniqua Foskin taught special education students in CMS for 18 years. She thinks other special education teachers might not feel safe teaching in-person.

“Me as an educator it’s saying that I’m not even comfortable with it. So now you’re going to put my health on the line? I don’t know what the kids have been exposed to,” says Foskin.

The Board of Education decided to start the school year with remote learning. There’s an in-person option for students with disabilities. Like those with severe cognitive or visual impairments, where learning on a computer might not be feasible.

“It’s impossible. There’s no way they’re going to be able to evaluate all those kids. Why do we always feel like we have to test, test, test these kids? Give them a survey. Ask them. Ask them what they want.”

Foskin says another vital aspect of education for children with special needs, social-emotional learning.

“We need to make sure that we’re connecting kids. That’s one part that I think that did not happen. They did not have those virtual resources. They didn’t have those virtual breakout sessions where the kids were able to talk with one another.”

WCCB spoke to a current CMS special education teacher. She did not want to be identified, but says the district needs to make sure there is adequate room to physically distance.

“Those students do have more severe disabilities and some of them may not understand the importance of distancing. So if the teacher can have two rooms to help distance the kids in groups of kids, I think that social distancing can be achieved,” says the CMS special education teacher.

WCCB asked the district how they planned to keep students with special needs and special education teachers safe.  We’re told they are currently working out the details and they’ll share as soon as possible.