Reopening Schools: Legal Issues and Concerns

By Brandon Vogel

August 25, 2020

Reopening Schools: Legal Issues and Concerns


By Brandon Vogel

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to rethink almost every aspect of modern life – particularly when it comes to education. Schools at all levels – from pre-K and elementary through college – are struggling to determine how to operate safely in the new normal. This unprecedented situation has also presented a host of legal challenges.

NYSBA is offering a timely webinar next Tuesday, “Reopening Schools: Legal Issues and Concerns,” to answer questions that lawyers and teachers have about what’s ahead in the coming school year. The program is $50 for members and carries 3.5 MCLE Credits in Professional Practice. Teachers can earn 3.0 CTLE credits and register by calling the Member Resource Center at 800-582-2452.

Program topics include, “Legal Issues and Concerns,” “Special Education,” and “New Laws/Regulations and New Court Decisions and Administrative Rulings.”


8:30 – 8:40 a.m. Introduction

8:40 – 9:40 a.m. Reopening Schools: Legal Issues and Concerns
School districts were required to submit reopening plans to the state for approval. As soon as those plans were made public, staff, students and parents immediately expressed concerns as to whether it is possible to safely return to in-person instruction this fall. Those who do not feel comfortable returning – staff and students alike – have asked for accommodations. Experts will discuss the question of legal liability in this new landscape, as well as collective bargaining challenges faced by districts across New York.

Beth A. Bourassa, Esq., partner, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP
Lawrence J. Tenenbaum, Esq., partner, Jaspan Schlesinger, LLP

Donald E. Budmen, Esq., partner, Ferrara Fiorenza P.C.

9:40 – 9:50 a.m. Break

9:50 – 10:50 a.m. Special Education – Two Costly Issues: Compensatory Education and Timeline Compliance
As schools reopen, districts may have to provide compensatory education to children with disabilities who did not receive services in their individualized education program (IEP) during school closures. Issues relate to the possible denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Find out what districts might be able to do to minimize the risk.

Jeffrey J. Weiss, Esq.,
partner, Harris Beach PLLC
Tara L. Moffett, Esq., partner, Girvin & Ferlazzo, PC

Robert H. Cohen, Esq., partner, Lamb & Barnosky, LLP

10:50 – 11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. – Noon. School Law: A Year in Review– New Laws/Regulations and New Court Decisions and Administrative Rulings
Learn about the important laws and regulations, as well as court and administrative decisions, that were adopted this past year that will impact the future operation of public schools.

Jay Worona, Esq
., deputy executive director and general counsel, the New York State School Boards Association

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