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SafeMinds: California’s Marin County Paving Way for National Special Education

Special educationFrom our friends at SafeMinds:

California’s Marin County Paving Way for National Special Education

Classrooms across the nation will be facing numerous modifications as students return to school after the Corona Virus pandemic. Social distancing, face coverings, reduced classroom size and staggered school schedules are only a handful of proposed changes suggested to mitigate risk of contagion on campuses. These new changes will be difficult for all students and teachers but could be particularly challenging for special education students, staffers, and faculty.

When distance learning became a reality for millions of American students, it was far from an ideal situation. However, learning outside the classroom posed even more difficulties for special education students. Carolyn Marney, a special education instructor from Houston, feels that the impact from several months of remote learning will be more exaggerated and harder to overcome for those with special challenges. She explains, “We know all students, especially children with special needs, thrive when there’s consistency. Without that consistency, I’m convinced kids will lose ground and we will likely see regression that will need to be addressed when this crisis has ended.”

The importance of providing a meaningful education to a vulnerable student population while at the same time trying to alleviate regression is critical. But how will school districts across the country instruct these students and deal with new COVID safety procedures? One California Bay Area school has been tasked to answer that question. A pilot program overseen by the Marin County Department of Education is giving the country a glimpse of what a post COVID special needs classroom will look like.

Five special education students along with their teacher and three paraprofessionals at San Jose Middle School in Novato started back to classroom learning in the middle of May. Three additional classmates have joined the class via distance learning. This special classroom which is following strict health department guidelines is demonstrating that social distancing is possible, however, it takes a large amount of planning, supervision, and many changes.

Instead of transportation via special education busses, parents now drive their students to school. Once they arrive on campus, students and parents visit a table outside the school entrance where their student’s temperature is taken. Parents fill out a health questionnaire about their family’s current health status. Questions like has anyone had a cough, fever or been exposed to anyone with coronavirus in the previous two weeks are answered. The student’s next stop is to have their backpacks wiped down with disinfectants.

In the classroom, student’s desks are six feet apart and surrounded by tape shaped into a box on the floor which provides students with a visual reminder of social distancing guidelines. Throughout the school day hand sanitizer and wipes are used. Masks are worn by the students who can tolerate them. The teacher and paraprofessionals monitor students’ movements so there is always six feet apart between students. Lunch is now brought from home. The cafeteria is closed. Instead of recess on the playground, a long walk is taken with students six feet apart so social distancing rules can be observed. Another temperature check is taken mid-day to monitor the students’ health.  Read more at California’s Marin County Paving Way for National Special Education



@Laura Hayes

Thank you for that information.

Tim Lundeen

This program is insane for "normal" kids, let alone special ed.


Has it occurred to the engineers of this program to be concerned about what the heavy regular exposure to disinfectants/sanitizers will do to chemically-sensitive kids, of whom there are many?

I thought not.

Paul Picha

Thanks for sharing this article.. timely news, when you consider all of the memes being created by lamestream corporate media right now in terms of opening schools (Six Feet Apart!! Until we have a Vaccine!!). Didn't this whole thing start out as a 15-day stay at home order??

They've hijacked our children and are using them as pawns in a game of politics.

Obviously they don't have our kids' best interest at heart... that is, if you read the science... I am grateful though that we have the ability... and so we'll be homeschooling for the year... we can read Orwell's 1984 together if my daughter feels like she is missing out on something at school.. not sure yet what we'll do longer term, but for this year we are OUT.

Shelley Tzorfas

1 in 20 boys in America is now autistic based on a state that requires full reporting and 1 in every 8 children in California is now considered "Special Needs," thank you SB277. We used to worry about "Land Mines," today our society needs to worry about "Land Minds!"

Laura Hayes


Excellent question and legitimate concern! Caused me to do some research. This was the most helpful article I found:

It is not a study. Should you or someone else find a study, or additional helpful information, please post it here!


So many issues... but... are there any “safety studies” regarding repeated exposure to these thermometers that scan your forehead with a laser or whatever it is??

Grace Green

I agree with Laura Hayes' comment. I do think that without the idiocy of the "Covid" paranoia some of these ideas might be good for special ed kids. Being driven to school by parents has got to be better than the school bus, and a home-packed lunch has the potential to be streets ahead of the dreaded school dinner! However, most of the rest of this plan is horrendous, and I don't agree that an institutional education is preferable to a home education for all special needs kids. What strikes me as despicable is that governments have pretty much forced, by economic hardship, most mothers to go out to work, and now they are forcing them to drive the kids to school, stay at home with them, and even home educate. When are people going to say No?!

Beleaguered Autism Mom

Who selected this school? Education has been nationalized? Transportation costs are expensive - how fortunate for the school budgets that it is being discontinued - sucks for the families that relied on it in the past. I am trying to picture my son’s class crossing streets 6 feet apart. Somebody is going to get hit by a car or get lost with these insane rules. Oh look severe ASD kids are not coming to school anymore. All those complaints about unsustainable special ed costs have disappeared. Problem solved.

Bob Moffit

Has Covid created a NEW NORMAL that will be with us for entire lives going forward?

Do these measures being instituted have an end in sight .. or .. do they represent how all students will be taught forever more?

Laura Hayes

This is unacceptable. Such environments should not be condoned, promoted, or tolerated. They are inhumane, will impede learning in both academic and non-academic areas, will result in harm to those being subjected to such conditions, and are both unnecessary and ridiculous.

We need to rise up, resist, refuse, and rebel, not only against vaccine mandates, but against any and all forms of tyranny, including those resulting from “Covid”.

There is so much information out there to refute the false narrative being foisted on the world populace with regard to “Covid”, and the resultant “recommendations”, which quickly become “orders” issued by willfully ignorant and/or completely corrupt officials. I thank AoA for publishing so much of this excellent information which exposes the lies being told and the evil agenda being pushed.

To that end, don’t miss Peggy Hall’s latest:

And please get involved with Peggy’s group, “The Healthy American”, and with Dr. Pam Popper’s new campaign, “Citizens in Charge”:

We must not consent to or comply with that which is unconstitutional, unhealthy, or unwise. Be a role model for others to do the same!

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