Eau Claire, WI asked in Education Law for Wisconsin

Q: Our school is refusing to allow our children with health issues to switch to a virtual model. Is this legal?

This is during a pandemic. The school is not screening students as they enter the building which has resulted in students being exposed to children who have tested positive. Our children and a household member suffer from autoimmune issues and one child is awaiting test results for leukemia. Does the school have a right to force children to attend in person classes?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Raul Jauregui
Raul Jauregui
  • Education Law Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA

A: I'm very sorry to her of this situation which sounds dreadful, but, I hasten to add, I am not giving any kind of opinion.

I do think, from what little I discern just from this question, that if I was a parent in that situation it would seem to me that at the very least if my child was awaiting leukemia results, that child of mine would need to demand accommodations from the school because, for example, as you say, anything that depresses the immune system makes that child, as an ongoing matter, susceptible to infection, and the child is probably less active than others--so why make the child be in an infectious and exhausting environment?

To me, a child in those conditions, sounds like a child with a borderline a disability--not that different from, for example, a seeing impaired child. And one that probably has a right to an accommodation like remote studying; assuming this is all backed up with medical records.

And students who have disabilities, probably including that kind, where the school has actually denied the optimal way to deal with that disability, through an accommodation denial, I believe, have a right to complain with the US Education Department in the office for the individual state which I would look up here:


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