What We Need - Sela Sanberg

June 30, 2020

My name is Sela Sanberg and a close friend of mine is a Special Education teacher for  high school students with neurodevelopmental disabilities and complex medical comorbidities. I am writing from Portland, Oregon, whereas my friend resides in an adjacent county. In the spirit of full transparency, I am writing on my friend's behalf in an effort to protect the privacy of her students and her employment status. The COVID-19 emergency has stopped necessary supportive services, such as access to paraprofessionals, in-vivo direct instruction, and multimodal educational materials and resources. Moreover, special education students and the staff members who provide direct services do not have enough food to meet their daily nutritional needs. My friend, who receives a meager teacher's salary, generously sent groceries to 3 of her students and $100 to all 10 of her teaching assistants in order for them to have supplies needed to stay safely at home the first week of ‘shelter in place'. Although most of her students are able to get adequate nutrition at home, a majority of students do not have the basic skills and/or access to technology required for virtual learning. Therefore, students are not able to attend school or engage in meaningful adaptive and academic learning. I am worried about how students with disabilities and their families and school community will be further impacted if such inequities and social disparities are not thoughtfully addressed. I know you are working on the fourth relief package for COVID-19. I want to learn more about how you are going to help people with disabilities in this package. Thank you very much for your time.