The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Board of Directors supports the following policy position, which further supports the 2020 ASHA Public Policy Agenda, and provides additional details, specificity, and guidance for ASHA’s advocacy efforts related to education throughout 2020.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association supports:
- prioritizing the safety of audiologists and speech-language pathologists, assistants, students and their families, and other school personnel;
- an evidence-based approach to resuming the 2020–2021 school year that prioritizes the safety of audiologists and speech-language pathologists, assistants, students, and their families, and other school personnel while delivering the highest quality education and related services possible;
- schools using data-driven guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health entities to make determinations regarding schools reopening in the 2020–2021 school year. Determinations must take into account the health, safety, and well-being of school-based professionals and the students they serve;
- enhanced use of telepractice and distance learning that must continue throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, students, and their families;
- appropriate and supplemental funding as necessary to ensure that state education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) are able to undertake dynamic responses to COVID-19;
- supplemental funding to SEAs and LEAs must continue to ensure adequate access to supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and appropriate technology to facilitate distance learning;
- adequate supplies of appropriate PPE when on-site or engaged in face-to-face interactions; and appropriate technology to facilitate distance learning in response to COVID-19; adaptations should include use of clear face coverings to maximize communication and access to the curriculum; and
- flexibility in schools to prioritize safety, maximize learning opportunities, and meet unique community and individual circumstances.