Raleigh, N.C. — A number of families with special-needs students are caught in a government loophole and can’t get in-home help as they try to navigate online-only learning with their children.
In normal times, their children are in school, getting intensely personal help in small classrooms. But with many school systems across North Carolina, including the largest ones in the Triangle, holding online-only classes, that’s happening through a computer screen now.
In normal times, the families can get federally funded waivers to hire in-home help when their children aren’t at school. But virtual learning counts as school, prohibiting parents from getting that help during school hours. Schools get federal funding for special-needs education, and in the U.S. government’s eyes, spending tax dollars on in-home help during the school day counts as double dipping.
“This money’s just sitting there,” said Jennifer Pfaltzgraff, executive director of