Virtual IEP Meetings: All You Need To Know To Start
Posted by Kristin Weingart on
Okay, so it's no secret that this is the season of IEP meetings. Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened at a time when we're super busy and have tons of things scheduled. Now we need to make the decision of... do we proceed with a meeting or do we need to wait until we return. Some districts have been able to get a waiver that pushes deadlines for evaluations and meetings. In those cases, many of the school districts have not required their teachers to hold meetings as they can be done once they return to school.
(FYI: seek out instructions from your own district as to what you are required to do).
My district is not that district. We were told we could have them at the district office in a particular room OR we can seek out other solutions. SO this is my solution in order to be able to stick to the quarantine mandates that are important to follow for everyone's health and wellness.
CHOOSING A PLATFORM:
Okay so ya'll I did my first virtual IEP meeting today via the basic platform of zoom and this version is not HIPAA compliant....(buries face in her hands.. oops). In my research, I found Zoom is HIPAA compliant only with the $200 version (read more here). For those that are like Kristin - What the heck did you do break HIPPA are you kidding me?....
I found an article about covered health care professionals who "in good faith are providing services during this crisis and feel a little less horrible.
I have printed out this article to have for my own documentation, as the internet is fluid and articles can be removed (call me paranoid but, protect yourself).
BUT WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER YOU DO BETTER. So even though they are being lenient during this time I looked up other options and am now going to be pursuing a HIPAA Compliant platform. I have talked with others who are going to continue to pursue zoom due to the flexible law now but I don't want to be making that a routine to use because after COVID-19 if we have to do a virtual IEP I still want this post to be relevant for you.
I am choosing to use Google Meet because I pay for the google suite and this is HIPAA Compliant. Google hangouts is NOT HIPAA Compliant! These are not the same thing (FYI). Another option that you can use is Microsoft teams.
Doxy.me is a great platform for telepractice sessions! 1:1 meetings are covered in the free version that is HIPPA compliant. That is not good for meetings though as you need to invite more than one person to a meeting and you can only get that with their paid plan.
GOOGLE MEET TUTORIAL :
BEFORE THE MEETING:
1. Provide clear instructions as to how to access the meeting. They should receive an invite link to their email and they should click that to join in on the video conference.
2. Set up the chat when you create the meeting. Explain to invitees to check their email for a separate link to the chat they can use during the meeting. Tell them to have both the video link from meet open and the chat open at the time of the meeting so they can engage with both. :)
3. Be sure that the team has your contact information so they can let you know if they are experiencing any tech probs.
4. Let invitees know if they are uncomfortable being on camera they can hide their camera.
5. Encourage invitees to meet via desktop to better see shared documents (if possible).
HOSTING THE MEETING:
1. Be sure to share your screen so all of the paperwork can be shown. People should be able to verify the documentation is complete and be able to visually see it to help them process through it.
2. Verify that everyone can hear each other prior to starting the meeting so that questions can be presented as they come up and aren't missed
3. Monitor the chat as you present to the team.
4. RECORD YOUR MEETING IF POSSIBLE. Use an external hard drive to store your meetings so that you can have proof that you held the meeting. (Cheap External Hard Drive) // (Better Quality External Hard Drive) **these links are affiliate links meaning I can get commission if you click and purchase these recommended products.
5. Present as you normally would. :)
6. TAKE MEETING MINUTES. haha you're joking right? NO. I know this is one more thing on your plate but it is something that is so important. If your school has not been doing this already I suggest that you start now that we have the school closings.
I have a PDF form that you can print and make copies of
or write on if you don't have your own meeting minutes as a district.
This is a way to cover yourself. You don't want someone to think that you're meeting didn't happen. You can do this immediately after the meeting if needed since it is hard to work the tech, share your screen and take minutes all at the time. Be sure to tell the team that you'll be sending minutes in the follow-up email and if anyone disagrees with what you wrote down to let you know so you can fix it!
What do I include in my minutes?
Introductions were made meeting was held via _______ platform due to school closure purpose of the meeting was reviewed with the team. describe your meeting and the talking points (did you go over the eval, eligibility, and IEP. Break down some of the key parts like Present levels, assessments, goals, accomodations, modifications, testing, LRE, ESY, (etc). document that you gave procedural safeguards (send via email: don't forget) For outcomes/Actions taken: state that the IEP was agreed upon as a team and copies of the paperwork were sent out to the team via email on ____(date)_____.
FOLLOW UP + DOCUMENTATION:
1. Request that everyone sends you a digital signature (IMPORTANT). Don't just right so and so attended by phone. That may work during the school year, but when all of the schools are closed it looks sketch because anyone can say they held a meeting now. You need it to be as authentic as possible.
I found a website to help with collecting digital signatures (I've heard it works well with the google chrome browser). Past the link below in the chat of your video conference. Ask people to send you the .png file of their signature. Do not accept one that looks like it was auto-populated. Like it should look ugly.. Those are the authentic onees.
2. Tell everyone thank you for joining in and to expect an email with attachments and next steps.
3. Choose to either print all of the signature page and you sign them all directly OR create a digital signature for yourself (I signed all of mine directly and then scanned them in and then edited the PDF to add the signature images).
Take the images they sent you and edit the PDFs of your IEP document signature pages to add the images on the signature lines.
4. Once ALL of the files are complete. SEND THESE FILES TO EVERYONE ON THE TEAM.
5. Ask for a response back from EVERY team member. This is important. I specifically asked for the team members to say "agree" or "verified" to let me know that they are confirming where I placed their digital signature is appropriate. You don't want anyone coming back and saying "oh I didn't sign that...". Get the paper trail. Don't know how to word asking for this? Copy and Paste this template into your emails:
"Here are the finalized documents with everyone's signatures. I'll be uploading them to our online system and I'll get the originals to the district after we're back to school.
Please take a second to look at them and respond back to the email saying "verified" to confirm that you are in agreement with where your e-signature has been placed.
Don't hesitate to ask us any questions you may have as you review the documents.
Thanks again for your time! Praying we're back soon"
OK THAT'S A WRAP:
I hope you found this blog post to be helpful for you. Whether you're hosting virtual meetings or if you know of someone who needs to start, please consider sharing this blog and leaving feedback. If you have additional questions please comment below so that I can get back to you ASAP or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave a Comment:
1. Are you needing to conduct virtual meetings? How has this helped you?
2. Share your virtual meeting experiences below. Have a different platform you use? Let us know below.
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