Long COVID under Section 504 and IDEA: A Resource Guide for Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families

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Many children and young adults who planned to return to school in the fall struggle to recover from “long COVID.”

The terms “long COVID” and “long haul COVID” refer to lingering physical, mental, and neurological symptoms that affect children, adolescents, and adults after a coronavirus infection. The severity and duration of symptoms vary.

student with head on books

A student with a severe headache caused by long COVID rests his head on a pile of books.

In long COVID, debilitating health issues often disrupt schooling, sleep, mood, daily and extracurricular activities, and other areas. Common symptoms include headache, “brain fog,” exhaustion, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Recovery time is unclear.

Long COVID may be a disability under the IDEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In July 2021, the Department of Education published Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA: A Resource Guide to Support Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families (8 pages) to address the developmental and educational implications of long COVID for children and students.

The Long COVID Resource Guide provides information about long COVID as a disability and the responsibilities of schools to provide services and reasonable modifications to children and students for whom long COVID is a disability.

The Long COVID Resource Guide has four sections:
1. Background Information About Section 504 and IDEA
2. What Is Long COVID and What Is Its Impact on Children and Students?
3. Protections and Services under IDEA and Section 504 for Children and Students with Long COVID
4. What to Do If a Child or Student Is Experiencing Long COVID

Related Articles

‘This Is Really Scary’: Kids Struggle With Long Covid. (The New York Times, August 8, 2021)

Long COVID and kids: scientists race to find answers. (Nature, July 14, 2021)

Long COVID afflicts kids too. Here’s what we know so far. (National Geographic, June 10, 2021)

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