State program to help special needs students make up for COVID learning losses

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12 65 Billerbeck Street, New Oxford

A state program meant to support special needs students during the pandemic has received more than 100 requests locally since launching in January. 

Lynn Murphy, special education director for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit No. 12, said the state Department of Education launched COVID-19 Compensatory Services, or CCS, earlier this year as a way to help special needs students make up for learning losses incurred during the pandemic.

Since then, she said the unit has received at least 118 CCS requests in Franklin, Adams and York counties. 

Students eligible for CCS were pre-determined before the services launched, based on what each student's achievement goals were before the pandemic hit, according to York Learning Center Principal Danielle Curzi. Intermediate units contract with school districts and educational facilities to provide the services. 

The York Learning Center currently has 25 students working with intermediate unit teachers through CCS, Curzi said. The services offered to each student depend on what the student needs, Murphy said, and can include lessons on behavioral and social skills, speech and language learning, among other things. 

"It's all individualized to the student," Murphy said. 

More:More than 2,800 COVID-19 cases recorded at York County schools during school year

More:Kindergarten enrollment in York County returning to normal after pandemic drop

Some students received CCS during the school year through extended learning time after their regular school days, while others are receiving the help during the summer. Curzi said extended school year programs are common in special education, but CCS is unique because it directly relates to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Students work one-on-one with teachers through CCS, with time specifically dedicated to whatever area the student needs help with. Curzi said even just one hour of one-on-one time with a teacher can make a huge difference to the students.