School Accommodations

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Students with Long Covid

Long Covid is not rare. Though research is still on going, it is estimated that 10-15% of those who contract COVID will develop Long Covid.

Long Covid can be Disabling

Long Covid can considered a legal disability under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 if it substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Long Covid is considered a disability when it effects a major bodily function, such as the functions of the immune system, cardiovascular system, neurological system, circulatory system, or the operation of an organ.

– Caring for oneself
– Performing manual tasks
– Seeing
– Hearing
– Eating
– Sleeping
– Walking
– Standing and sitting
– Reaching, lifting, bending
– Speaking
– Breathing
– Learning
– Reading
– Concentrating & thinking
– Writing, communicating, and / or interacting with others

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557

U.S. Department of Education
Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA

Kennedy Krieger Institute:
Supporting a Student with Long-COVID
Considerations for Educators

Long Covid is the unofficial term for people who do not fully recover after having Covid-19. This can and often occurs in those who have had even mild illness or were even totally asymptomatic.

Accommodations & Modifications

Schools are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations and modifications to students who have disabilities.


An accommodation is a change that removes a barrier to learning or completing assignments. Accommodations don’t change what kids learn, just how they learn it. Some examples of accommodations are:

– Changes to the environment
– Taking tests in a quiet space
– Frequent bathroom breaks
– Changes to instruction
– Checking in frequently on key concepts
– Changes to how curriculum is presented
– Getting outlines of lessons

Some common accommodations for students with Long Covid complications at issues related to fatigue, minimizing the number of steps taken at school, Concentration and maintaining academic performance, symptom control during the school day, and hypersensitivities.


A modification changes what a child learns in school. If your child needs instruction and/or assignments modified, then an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) may be more appropriate as it covers both accommodations and modified instruction.

If unsure, you can simultaneously pursue a 504 plan and an IEP.

Parents can refer their child for a 504 evaluation or an IEP evaluation. While verbal requests can be made, it is best to document your referral with a written, dated request of evaluation. Submit the referral to the district’s 504 coordinator or the Special Education Coordinator and the school principal. The district will review the referral and send a letter of consent to “evaluate” your child.

Kids do not need to get a full evaluation or medical diagnosis to get a 504 plan. However, a medical diagnosis will make the process smoother. A 504 evaluation does not typically consist of standardized and formal assessments and evaluations. A review of medical history, schoolwork samples, direct observation of the student, observations of teacher(s) and school staff, parent interview and other assessments are in the Evaluation Process.

A Special Education evaluation for an IEP does require standardized and formal assessments and evaluations within a set timeline per the state and federal laws. A child can have a 504 plan during the Evaluation Process for an IEP.

Accommodation Ideas for Students

Concentration Problems:

  • Provide written instructions when possible
  • Prioritize assignments & provide more structure
  • Allow a self-pace workload
  • Allow periodic rest periods to reorient
  • Provide memory aids, such as schedulers or organizers
  • Minimize distractions
  • Reduce stress


  • Modified gym class or substitute for health class
  • Reduce or eliminate stress
  • Schedule periodic rest breaks away from the classroom where the student can lay flat
  • Allow a flexible schedule & flexible use of absences
  • Implement ergonomic workstation design
  • Allow modified home based instruction
  • Provide a scooter or other mobility aid if walking cannot be reduced


  • Modified gym class or substitute for health class
  • Allow water and electrolyte drinks in the classroom at all times
  • Allow bathroom use without dismissal
  • Reduce or eliminate loud noises and fluorescent lights
  • Allow sun glasses or headphones
  • Allow blood pressure or heart monitor devices
  • Schedule periodic rest breaks away from the classroom where the student can lay flat
  • Allow a flexible schedule & flexible use of absences
  • Allow modified home based instruction
  • Provide a scooter or other mobility aid

Temperature Sensitivity:

  • Modify temperature & maintain the ventilation system
  • Modify dress code
  • Use fan/air-conditioner or heater at the workstation & redirect vents
  • Allow a flexible schedule & flexible use of absences during extremely hot or cold weather
  • Provide a workspace with separate temperature control

Sleep Disorder:

  • Allow frequent breaks
  • Allow modified home based instruction

Depression & Anxiety:

  • Reduce distractions in work environment
  • Provide to-do lists & written instructions
  • Remind student of important deadlines & meetings
  • Allow time off for counseling
  • Provide clear expectations of responsibilities & consequences
  • Provide sensitivity training to all students
  • Allow breaks to use stress management techniques
  • Develop strategies to deal with problems before they arise
  • Provide information on counseling assistance programs

Homebound & Modified Day Placement 

A large portion of kids with Long Covid utilize Homebound Accommodations while attending public schooling.

  • A homebound or modified day placement may be appropriate for a student served under the IDEA who is unable to attend school due to a medical or mental health condition.
  • A “modified day” for a special education student is a partial homebound placement and is a highly restrictive because it similarly segregates students with disabilities.
  • Homebound services should be calculated to ensure appropriate access and reasonable rigor during times of chronic conditions.

A postsecondary school is required to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

The legal requirement is not the same as the legal requirements during a child’s pre-high school graduation life.

The ADA has different sections for employment and for public accommodations. As with anything legal, please consult an attorney to receive more information for your specific issue.

Cyber Schooling
& Home Schooling

Some parents of Long Haulers find it difficult working with their school to ensure their child’s needs are being met and decide to go outside of the district for cyber schooling or give home schooling a go.

More Resources

Long Covid Families collects, saves, and updates resources that we feel may be helpful for our community.

Additional Support

Related services in a school-based setting assist students in successfully and efficiently accessing the educational curriculum when they present with a disability that impacts their ability to do in the school environment.

  • speech and language pathologists
  • occupational therapists
  • physical therapists
  •  behavior specialists
  •  psychologist
  •  school adjustment counselors
  •  orientation and mobility specialist
  •  teachers for the visually impaired 
  • school nurse/health services among others.

For Educators

How is Long Covid impacting schools and what can we expect in the future?

1. Recognition of Long Covid
There are children who are struggling with disabling symptoms that can be difficult to describe including declined cognitive function.

2. Future resources required by the schools
With a significant portion of kids experiencing lingering, disruptive, and sometimes disabling symptoms post Covid-19 infection – schools will be expected to provide support.

3. Slow the spread
The mitigation strategies put into place now predict future outcomes. Not just masks but social distancing, dividers, air filtration, cleaning, etc.

Long Covid Families is happy to support the community in any way we can. Join our Facebook Support Group, follow us on social media, or contact us, anytime.


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