Virginia Administrative Code
Part III - Responsibilities of Local School Divisions and State-Operated Programs
Section 8VAC20-81-130 - Least restrictive environment and placements

Universal Citation: 8 VA Admin Code 20-81-130

Current through Register Vol. 40, No. 16, March 25, 2024

A. General least restrictive environment requirements.

1. Each local educational agency shall ensure: ( 34 CFR 300.114 )
a. That to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, aged two to 21, inclusive, including those in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children without disabilities; and

b. That special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

2. In providing or arranging for the provision of nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, including meals, recess periods, and other nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities provided for children without disabilities, each local educational agency shall ensure that each child with a disability participates with children without disabilities in those services and activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the child with a disability. The local educational agency shall ensure that each child with a disability has the supplementary aids and services determined by the child's IEP team to be appropriate and necessary for the child to participate in nonacademic settings. (See also 8VAC20-81-100 H.) ( 34 CFR 300.117 )

3. For children placed by local school divisions in public or private institutions or other care facilities, the local educational agency shall, if necessary, make arrangements with public and private institutions to ensure that requirements for least restrictive environment are met. (See also 8VAC20-81-150.) ( 34 CFR 300.114 and 34 CFR 300.118 )

B. Continuum of alternative placements. (§ 22.1-213 of the Code of Virginia; 34 CFR 300.115 )

1. Each local educational agency shall ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities, aged two to 21, inclusive, for special education and related services.

2. The continuum shall:
a. Include the alternative placements listed in the term "special education" at 8VAC20-81-10, including instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions; and

b. Make provision for supplementary services (e.g., resource room or services or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular education class placement. The continuum includes integrated service delivery, which occurs when some or all goals, including benchmarks and objectives if required, of the student's IEP are met in the general education setting with age-appropriate peers.

3. No single model for the delivery of services to any specific population or category of children with disabilities is acceptable for meeting the requirement for a continuum of alternative placements. All placement decisions shall be based on the individual needs of each child.

4. Local educational agencies shall document all alternatives considered and the rationale for choosing the selected placement.

5. Children with disabilities shall be served in a program with age-appropriate peers unless it can be shown that for a particular child with a disability, the alternative placement is appropriate as documented by the IEP.

C. Placements. (Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8VAC20-131); 34 CFR 300.116 )

1. In determining the educational placement of a child with a disability, including a preschool child with a disability, each local educational agency shall ensure that:
a. The placement decision is made by the IEP team in conformity with the least restrictive environment provisions of this chapter.

b. The child's placement is:
(1) Determined at least annually;

(2) Based on the child's IEP; and

(3) As close as possible to the child's home.

c. Unless the IEP of a child with a disability requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school that the child would attend if a child without a disability.

d. In selecting the least restrictive environment, consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services which the child needs.

e. A child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum.

2. Home-based instruction shall be made available to children whose IEPs require the delivery of services in the home or other agreed-upon setting.

3. Homebound instruction shall be made available to children who are confined for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or clinical psychologist. For students eligible for special education and related services, the IEP team shall revise the IEP, as appropriate, and determine the delivery of homebound services, including the number of hours of services.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia; 20 USC § 1400 et seq.; 34 CFR Part 300.

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