April 13, 2024

The Impact of the CARES Act on Special Education

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it brought unprecedented challenges to the education system. Students with special needs were especially affected, as they rely heavily on the support and services provided in schools. However, the CARES Act, which was passed in March 2020, aimed to address these challenges and ensure that students with disabilities have equal opportunities to succeed.

Financial Support for Schools

One of the key provisions of the CARES Act is the allocation of funds to support schools in providing special education services. With the sudden shift to remote learning, schools needed additional resources to adapt their programs and accommodate the unique needs of students with disabilities. The CARES Act provided much-needed financial support to help schools bridge this gap and continue to deliver high-quality education to all students.

Technology and Connectivity

Another important aspect of the CARES Act is its emphasis on technology and connectivity. Many students with special needs rely on assistive technology to access the curriculum and participate in classroom activities. However, not all students have access to the necessary devices or reliable internet connection at home. The CARES Act provided funding to schools to ensure that students with disabilities have the technology and connectivity they need to continue their education remotely.

Supporting Teachers and Parents

The challenges faced by students with special needs during the pandemic were not only limited to their academic progress. Teachers and parents also had to adapt to new teaching methods and find ways to support their children at home. The CARES Act recognized this and provided resources to support teachers and parents in their efforts to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

Professional Development and Training

The CARES Act allocated funds for professional development and training for teachers. This ensured that educators had the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively teach students with special needs in a remote learning environment. Workshops, webinars, and online courses were made available to help teachers navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic and deliver quality instruction to all students.

Parental Involvement and Guidance

Recognizing the vital role parents play in their child’s education, the CARES Act also provided resources to support parental involvement and guidance. Parents of students with special needs were offered training sessions and access to online resources to help them better understand their child’s individual needs and support their learning at home. This support helped bridge the gap between home and school, ensuring a more holistic approach to special education.

Addressing Learning Loss

The disruption caused by the pandemic resulted in significant learning loss for many students, particularly those with special needs. The CARES Act acknowledged this issue and provided strategies and resources to address the learning gaps and help students catch up.

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)

IEPs play a crucial role in the education of students with disabilities. The CARES Act emphasized the importance of reviewing and revising IEPs to address the impact of the pandemic on students’ progress. Schools were encouraged to work closely with parents and guardians to reassess the goals and accommodations outlined in the IEPs and make necessary adjustments to ensure continued progress.

Additional Support Services

Recognizing the increased need for support services, the CARES Act provided funding for additional resources such as tutoring, counseling, and therapy for students with special needs. These services aimed to address the social-emotional and mental health needs of students and support their overall well-being during these challenging times.


The CARES Act has played a crucial role in ensuring that students with special needs have equal opportunities to succeed despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. By providing financial support, technology resources, and professional development opportunities, it has helped schools, teachers, and parents adapt to the new learning environment and support the unique needs of students with disabilities. As we move forward, it is important to continue prioritizing the education and well-being of all students, regardless of their abilities or circumstances.