The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced schools in New Jersey to close in March 2020, has made it difficult for many students with disabilities to benefit from special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In response to the pandemic’s disastrous impact, the New Jersey legislature passed S-3434 which became law on June 16, 2021. This new law added another year of eligibility for services under the IDEA for three classes of students who had not yet graduated from high school when the law went into effect: students who either turned or will turn 21 during the 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 school years.
After S-3434 became law, many individuals raised questions about students classified under the IDEA who either (a) turned 21 during the 2019-20 school year or (b) accepted their high school diplomas at the end of the 2019-20 school year. They want to know if those particular students can still receive make-up services because the services required by their IEPs were either not provided the right way or not provided at all after schools shut down in March 2020.This document provides guidance and answers to frequently asked questions relating to those students.