2021 General Assembly Session

Special Services Related Legislation

2021 General Assembly Summary – Final Report
Special Services Related Legislation
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations

This report describes the Special Services related legislation considered during the 2021 General Assembly Regular, Special, and Reconvened Sessions.  Bills are listed as having Passed or Failed.  Any legislation labeled as Passed was signed by the Governor and will go into effect on July 1, 2021 unless otherwise specified in the legislation itself.

Summaries are linked to the Division of Legislative Services’ web pages for text, up to date summary information, and fiscal impact statements. If a bill of interest is not found in one category, please check another as legislation often can fit under multiple categories.

UPDATED: 04/26/2021

 

Albuterol Inhalers and Valved Holding Chambers HB 2019 (McQuinn) requires each local school board to adopt and implement policies for the possession and administration of undesignated stock albuterol inhalers and valved holding chambers in every public school in the local school division, to be administered by any school nurse, employee of the school board, employee of a local governing body, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by the local health director and trained in the administration of albuterol inhalers and valved holding chambers for any student believed in good faith to be in need of such medication. The bill will require the Department of Health, in conjunction with the Department of Education, to develop and implement policies for the administration of stock albuterol in public schools.  The bill will have a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022.

Children's Services Act; Effective Monitoring and Implementation HB 2212 (Plum) requires the director of the Office of Children's Services to provide for the effective implementation of the Children's Services Act (§ 2.2-5200 et seq.) in all localities by (i) regularly monitoring local performance measures and child and family outcomes; (ii) using audit, performance, and outcomes data to identify local programs that need technical assistance; and (iii) working with local programs that are consistently underperforming to develop a corrective action plan for submission to the Office and the State Executive Council for Children's Services.

Children's Services Act; Special Education Programs HB 2117 (VanValkenburg) and SB 1313 (Mason)  requires that funds expended for private special education services under the Children's Services Act only be expended on educational programs that are licensed by the Board of Education or an equivalent out-of-state licensing agency. The bills also provide that as of July 1, 2022, such funds may only be expended for programs that the Office of Children's Services certify as having reported their tuition rates. The bill adds children and youth previously placed in approved private school educational programs for at least six months who will receive transitional services in a public-school setting to the target population for eligibility for the state pool of funds. The bills provide that state funds shall be allocated for no longer than 12 months for transitional services. The bills require the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Resources, in conjunction with the Office of Children's Services and the Department of Education, to establish a work group with appropriate stakeholders to develop a detailed plan to direct the transfer of Children's Services Act funds currently reserved for children requiring an educational placement in a private special education day school or residential facility to the Department of Education, as well as several other topics. The bills will require that the work group submit its plan and recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations by November 1, 2021, as well as a final plan and recommendations by November 1, 2022.

Community Services Boards; Contracts With Private Providers HB 2070 (Willet) clarifies that community services boards may enter into contracts with private providers for delivery of mental health, developmental, and substance abuse services.

Court-Appointed Special Advocates; Information Sharing HB 1866 (Delaney) permits court-appointed special advocates to participate in and verbally share information with family partnership meetings and in meetings of family assessment and planning teams, multidisciplinary child sexual abuse response teams, individualized education program teams, and multidisciplinary teams related to child abuse.

COVID-19 Vaccine Facilitation HB 2333 (Bagby) and SB 1445 (Dunnavant) facilitate the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bills require the Department of Health (the Department) to establish a program to enable eligible health care providers to volunteer to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents of the Commonwealth during a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic declared by the Governor. The bills define "eligible health care provider" and provide that the program shall include a process by which an eligible health care provider may register to participate in the program and the training requirements for participating eligible health care providers related to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, including training on the intramuscular injection of the COVID-19 vaccine and contraindications and side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bills specify requirements that the Department shall ensure that each site at which COVID-19 vaccinations are administered by eligible health care providers satisfies. The bills also require the Department to establish a process by which entities, including medical care facilities, hospitals, hospital systems, corporations, businesses, pharmacies, public and private institutions of higher education, localities, and any other professional or community entity operating in the Commonwealth, may volunteer their facilities as sites at which the COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to residents of the Commonwealth. The bills permit a public institution of higher education or a private institution of higher education in the Commonwealth to volunteer to provide assistance to the Department and local health departments for data processing, analytics, and program development related to the COVID-19 vaccine through the use of its employees, students, technology, and facilities. The bills also permit localities with fire departments, emergency medical services departments, and volunteer rescue squads to establish and staff vaccine administration clinics. The bills provide civil and criminal immunity to individuals and professional entities acting pursuant to the bill.  The bills became effective on February 15 upon the Governor’s signature. 

Excused Student Absences; Civic or Political Engagement HB 1940 (Rasoul) and SB 1439 (McClellan)  provide that, subject to guidelines established by the Department of Education, each school board (i) will permit one school day-long excused absence per school year for any middle school or high school student in the local school division who is absent from school to engage in a civic event and (ii) may permit additional excused absences for such students who are absent for such purposes. The bills also provide that local school boards may require that the student provide advance notice of the intended absence and require that the student provide documentation of participation in a civic event.

Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Fund and Program Established HB 2204 (Filler-Corn) and SB 1405 (Saslaw) establishes the Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Fund and requires the Virginia Community College System to establish the G3 Program for the purpose of providing financial assistance from the Fund to certain low-income and middle-income Virginia students who are enrolled in an educational program at an associate-degree-granting public institution of higher education that leads to an occupation in a certain high-demand field. The bills contain provisions for student eligibility, financial assistance award amounts, and data reporting.

Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) Work Group to Study Options for the Permanent Use of Virtual Supports and Increasing Access to Virtual Supports and Services  HB 2197 (Runion) directs the Department of Medical Assistance Services to study and develop recommendations for the permanent use of virtual supports and increasing access to virtual supports and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by promoting access to assistive technology and environmental modifications and to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by November 1, 2021.

Licensed Private Schools for Students with Disabilities; Accreditation HB 2238 (Kory) directs the Board of Education to require, pursuant to regulation, any private school for students with disabilities that is licensed by the Board, as a condition for renewal of its initial license to operate, to obtain accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the Virginia Council for Private Education within three years of the issuance of its initial triennial license by the Board. The bill provides that, notwithstanding the foregoing requirement, any private school for students with disabilities that is licensed to operate by the Board as of July 1, 2021, shall obtain accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the Virginia Council for Private Education no later than July 1, 2024.

Licensure of Occupational Therapists; Occupational Therapy Interjurisdictional Licensure Compact SB 1189 (Hashmi) authorize Virginia to become a signatory to the Occupational Therapy Interjurisdictional Licensure Compact. The Compact will permit eligible licensed occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants to practice in Compact member states, provided that they are licensed in at least one member state. The bill will have a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022, and will direct the Board of Medicine to adopt emergency regulations to implement the provisions of the bill. The Compact will take effect when it is enacted by a tenth member state.

Military Spouse Liaison SB 1150 (Kiggans) establishes the position of Military Spouse Liaison (the Liaison) in the Department of Veterans Services to conduct outreach and advocate on behalf of military spouses in the Commonwealth. The bill directs the Liaison to report by December 1 of each year through the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services to the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, the Governor, and the General Assembly on the work of the Liaison and any legislative recommendations.

Public Institutions of Higher Education; Certain Students; Financial Assistance Programs HB 2123 (Lopez) and SB 1387 (Boysko) provides that students who meet the criteria to be deemed eligible for in-state tuition regardless of their citizenship or immigration status shall be afforded the same educational benefits, including financial assistance programs administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the State Board for Community Colleges, or a public institution of higher education, as any other individual who is eligible for in-state tuition. The bills will have a delayed effective date of August 1, 2022 and directs the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, in coordination with institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, to promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of the bill.

School-Based Health Services; Telemedicine SB 1307 (Dunnavant)  directs the Board of Medical Assistance Services to amend the state plan for medical assistance services to provide for payment of medical assistance services delivered to Medicaid-eligible students when such services qualify for reimbursement by the Virginia Medicaid program and may be provided by school divisions, regardless of whether the student receiving care has an individualized education program or whether the health care service is included in a student's individualized education program. The bill will specify that such services shall include those covered under the state plan for medical assistance services or by the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment benefit as specified in § 1905(r) of the federal Social Security Act, and shall include a provision for payment of medical assistance for health care services provided through telemedicine services. The bill also requires the Department of Medical Assistance Services to provide technical assistance to the Department of Education and local school divisions to facilitate their understanding of and compliance with federal ordering, referring, and prescribing provider screening and enrollment requirements.

Seizure Management and Action Plans; Biennial Training SB 1322 (DeSteph)  provides for the submission and utilization of seizure management and action plans for students with a diagnosed seizure disorder. The bill requires each such seizure management and action plan to state that such plan is separate from any individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan that is in place for the student and nothing in such plan shall be construed to abrogate any provision of any IEP or Section 504 Plan that is in place for the student. The bill requires that school nurses and certain school division employees biennially complete Board of Education-approved training in the treatment of students with seizure disorders. The bill provide immunity from civil liability for acts or omissions related to providing for the care of a student under a seizure management and action plan. The bill will have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2022.

Special Education Regulations HB 2314 (Mugler) requires the Board of Education to amend a certain regulation relating to special education to remove the word "component" following the word "evaluation," thereby ensuring compliance with the relevant federal regulation and clarifying that the parent of a child with a disability has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the local educational agency.

Special Education and Related Services for Students with Disabilities HB 2316 (Mundon-King)  requires the Department of Education to update its special education eligibility worksheets as necessary, including clarifying any ambiguity or vagueness in eligibility criteria, and provide to each local school division the appropriate level of guidance on eligibility determinations for special education and related services. The bills require the Board of Education to amend its regulations to ensure that each education preparation program graduate in a K-12 general education endorsement area demonstrates proficiency in understanding the role of general education teachers on the individualized education program (IEP) team.

Special Education HB 2299 (Carr) and SB 1288 (Dunnavant) require the Department of Education to (i) provide training and guidance documents to local school divisions on the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for children with disabilities, (ii) develop a training module for each individual who participates in an IEP meeting, with the exception of parents, (iii) annually conduct structured reviews of a sample of IEPs from a sufficiently large sample of local school divisions to verify that the IEPs are in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, (iv) develop and maintain a statewide plan for improving (a) its ongoing oversight of local practices related to transition planning and services for children with disabilities and (b) technical assistance and guidance provided for postsecondary transition planning and services for children with disabilities, (v) develop and maintain a statewide strategic plan for recruiting and retaining special education teachers, and (vi) (a) conduct a one-time targeted review of the transition sections of a random sample of students' IEPs in each school division; (b) communicate its findings to each local school division, school board, and local special education advisory committee; and (c) ensure that local school divisions correct any IEPs that are found to be out of compliance no later than the end of the 2021-22 school year.

"Traumatic Brain Injury" Definition HB 2182 (Wilt)  requires the Board of Education to amend its regulatory definition of "traumatic brain injury," for the purpose of the provision of special education for children with disabilities, to include an acquired injury to the brain caused by a medical condition, including stroke, anoxia, infectious disease, aneurysm, brain tumors, and neurological insults resulting from medical or surgical treatments.

FAILED

Board of Counseling; Licensure of Professional Counselors Without Examination HB 1795 (Cole, Mk) would have required the Board of Counseling to issue a license as a licensed professional counselor without examination to a person who has applied for such a license and who satisfies all other education, experience, and fitness to practice requirements set forth in regulation and who, in the judgment of the Board, is qualified to practice professional counseling.

Children's Services Act; Eligibility for State Pool of Funds SB 1114 (Peake) would have expanded eligibility for use of the state pool of funds under the Children's Services Act to services that are provided in a public school setting.

Children's Services Act; Eligibility for State Pool of Funds HB 2289 (Austin)  would have declared eligible for the Children's Services Act state pool of funds any child or youth who was previously placed in an approved private school educational program for at least six months and who will receive certain transitional services in a public school setting for no longer than 12 months or whose individualized education program team has determined that his placement in a private special education day school, residential program, or other out-of-school placement could be prevented by his receipt of specialized or intensive services and supports delivered in the public school setting if such services and supports are estimated to have an annual cost that is more than three times the average annual cost of educating in a public school setting a student who does not require special education services and supports.

Children's Services Act; Eligibility for State Pool of Funds; Pilot Program Related to Educational Placement Transition for Certain Students With Disabilities SB 1133 (Suetterlein) would have expanded eligibility for use of the state pool of funds under the Children's Services Act to services that are provided in a public school setting and requires that private day schools be approved and licensed by the Department of Education or an equivalent out-of-state licensing agency to be eligible for the state pool of funds. The bill would have required the Department of Education and relevant local school boards to develop and implement a pilot program for up to four years in two to eight local school divisions in the Commonwealth.

Children's Services Act; Special Education Programs SB 1099 (Stuart) would have expanded eligibility for services under the Children's Services Act to students who transfer from an approved private school special education program to a public school special education program established and funded jointly by a local governing body and school division located within Planning District 16 for the purpose of providing special education and related services when the public school special education program is able to provide services comparable to those of an approved private school special education program and the student would require placement in an approved private school special education program but for the availability of the public school special education program.

Children with Disabilities; High School Extensions HB 2277 (Bell, R.B.) would have required any child with a disability who receives special education and related services, reaches age 22 after September 30, 2020, and is scheduled to complete high school in the spring of 2021 to be given the option for an extension to attend high school for the duration of the 2021-22 school year.  Note that while the legislation itself failed, HB 1800 (Torian, the Appropriations Act) includes language that would have the exact same effect of requiring school divisions to offer such extensions.

COVID-19 Immunization; Prohibition on Requirement; Discrimination Prohibited HB 2242 (LaRock) would have prohibited the State Health Commissioner and the Board of Health, the Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Health Professions and any regulatory board therein, and the Department of Social Services from requiring any person to undergo vaccination for COVID-19 and prohibits discrimination based on a person's vaccination status with respect to any COVID-19 vaccine with regard to education, employment, insurance, or issuance of a driver's license or other state identification or in numerous other contexts. The bill would have also prohibited the inclusion of any patient immunization information in the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS) unless the patient has consented, in writing, to inclusion of his information in the VIIS.

COVID-19 Immunization; Prohibition on Requirement; Employment Discrimination Prohibited    SB 1449 (Chase) would have prohibited discrimination based on a person's vaccination status with respect to any COVID-19 vaccine in numerous employment contexts.

COVID-19 Vaccine Administration HB 2328 (Byron) would have facilitated the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccination; Discrimination in Employment Prohibited SB 1450 (Chase) would have prohibited discrimination in employment based on a person's vaccination status with respect to any COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccination; Voluntary HJ 573 (LaRock) would have expressed the sense of the General Assembly that any vaccination for the COVID-19 virus shall be voluntary within the Commonwealth of Virginia and that it fully supports the practice of medical informed consent.

Department of General Services; Equal Access to State and Local Public Property by Persons Who Choose Not to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine SB 1451 (Chase) would have prohibited state agencies and localities from denying the use of certain public facilities to any person based on such person's vaccination status with respect to any COVID-19 vaccine.

Department of Health; Certain Communication Prohibited HB 2084 (Byron) would have prohibited any person employed by or who has entered into a contract to provide services on behalf of the Department of Health or a local department of health from initiating communication regarding health-related matters with a minor on behalf of the Department or local department of health without the consent of the minor's parent, except as otherwise required by law.  SB 1235 (Peake) would have prohibited any person employed by or who has entered into a contract to provide services on behalf of the Department of Health or a local department of health from initiating communication regarding the following matters with a minor on behalf of the Department or local department of health without the consent of the minor's parent or guardian or person serving in loco parentis: family living and community relationships; the benefits, challenges, responsibilities, and value of marriage for men, women, children, and communities; the value of family relationships; abstinence education; the value of postponing sexual activity; the benefits of adoption as a positive choice in the event of an unwanted pregnancy; human sexuality; human reproduction; the prevention of human trafficking; dating violence, the characteristics of abusive relationships, steps to take to deter sexual assault, the availability of counseling and legal resources, and, in the event of such sexual assault, the importance of immediate medical attention and advice, as well as the requirements of the law; the etiology, prevention, and effects of sexually transmitted diseases; and mental health education and awareness. The bill would have clarified that its provisions do not apply to school nurses, physicians, or Department employees or agents who are inquiring about medical conditions, outbreaks, pandemics, or any other declared state of emergency relating to a communicable disease or public health threat.

Employers; Reporting Outbreaks of COVID-19 SB 1362 (Lewis) would have required that, upon determination that a worksite cluster of COVID-19 has occurred at a workplace with 50 or more employees, the Department of Health (the Department) shall make a report available to the public on a website maintained by the Department that includes the name of the employer at which a worksite cluster has been reported and the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported by such employer. The Department would have also been required to report when previously reported outbreaks are under control. The bill would have defined "worksite cluster" as five or more cases with illness onset or initial positive results within a 14-day period and a likely epidemiologic linkage between cases. The bill would have provided that the provisions of the act shall expire upon expiration of the Governor's declared state of emergency in response to the continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The provisions of the bill would have been contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.

Fundamental Right to be Free From Medical Mandates HB 2335 (Walker) would have declared that, except as otherwise provided by law, each adult has a fundamental right to be free from medical mandates of the Commonwealth or any locality, private employer, health care entity or provider, or provider of public accommodations. The bill would have provided that it shall be no less a medical mandate for such entities to condition an individual's receipt of otherwise ordinary services, benefits, or employment upon the performance or acquiescence of undergoing or participating in a health-related test, procedure, tracking or monitoring program, or bodily insertion or injection of any drug or the wearing of any medical equipment or apparel. The bill would have set out exceptions, including protocols in health care facilities and food handling operations and valid orders of quarantine or isolation.

Immunizations; Religious Tenets or Practices SB 1117 (Peake) would have allowed a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination or immunization of a child on the grounds that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with his religious tenets or practices, even if an emergency or epidemic of disease has been declared by the State Board of Health, which is not allowed under current law.

Individualized Education Programs; Identification of Necessary Additional Services and Referrals HB 2211 (Plum) would have required individualized education program teams to identify any children with disabilities who may need additional services outside of the school setting and refer them to the local family assessment and planning team.

Non-FDA-Vaccines; Preventing Public and Private Imposition of Vaccines HB 2336 (Wiley) would have prevented public and private imposition of non-FDA-vaccines and would have created new code subsection.

Powers of State Health Commissioner in Epidemic; Vaccine; Religious Tenets or Practices SB 1116 (Peake) would have allowed a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination or immunization of a child on the grounds that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with his religious tenets or practices, even if an emergency or epidemic of disease has been declared by the State Board of Health, which is not allowed under current law. The bill would have also provided that nothing shall preclude the State Health Commissioner from requiring immediate immunization of all persons in the case of an epidemic of any disease of public health importance for which a vaccine exists other than a person, including a parent or guardian on behalf of a child, who objects on the grounds that the administration of the vaccine conflicts with his religious tenets or practices.

School Nurses; Nomenclature HB 1736 (Adams) would have prohibited any individual who provides nursing services in a public elementary or secondary school as a school board employee or through a contract with the local health department from using the title of school nurse unless such individual is a registered nurse who possesses an active license to practice in the Commonwealth.

School Nurses SB 1191 (Kiggans) would have excluded school nurse positions from requirements for student support positions and instead requires each local school board to employ at least one full-time equivalent school nurse position in each elementary school, middle school, and high school in the local school division. The bill would have also required the Department of Education to establish and administer a waiver process for local school boards for which the requirements of the bill create an undue hardship.

Therapeutic Day Treatment HB 2301 (Bell, R.B.) would have directed the Department of Medical Assistance Services (the Department) to develop and implement a plan that directs and guides Medicaid managed care organizations' decisions regarding authorization of school-based therapeutic day treatment for children and adolescents during the transition to the full implementation of redesigned school-based services to minimize gaps in therapeutic day treatment coverage during the transition period and implement a process for reviewing such decisions of managed care organizations.