Autism/Jon Peterson Scholarship

Autism and Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and FAQ

In light of the recent coronavirus-related school-building closure, this document is intended to address questions from students and providers participating in the Autism Scholarship Program established under section 3310.41 of the Ohio Revised Code or the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program established under section 3310.52 of the Ohio Revised Code. Throughout this document, the word “scholarship” is used to reference those two programs. 

Businesses Serving Scholarship Students:

Nonpublic Schools Serving Scholarship Students:

Services Provided by Electronic Delivery or Telehealth Communication


Businesses Serving Scholarship Students:

    Can my business provide services during the ordered school-building closure period?
    Since business providers are not “schools” as that term has been defined, they are not subject to the “School Closure” order of March 17, 2020 or the order as amended. As much as possible, businesses that provide services as part of the Autism and Jon Peterson Scholarship Programs should provide remote learning opportunities or services that do not require face-to-face interactions. Consulting with local health departments is advisable and encouraged. Businesses also should contact licensing agencies as applicable to determine any further restrictions and/or recommendations. 

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    Are providers’ employees permitted to continue providing regularly scheduled services in students’ homes?

    Generally, providers are encouraged to serve students remotely as much as possible while complying with the “Stay at Home” order. In those cases where home-based services would be considered “essential,” then such services could continue to be provided. In these cases, employees should take the utmost precaution to protect the health and safety of students, their families, themselves and the community, including through maintaining social distancing, appropriate sanitization and other precautionary measures. Providers should consider the following three questions when thinking through how best to provide special education services to students with disabilities:  

    1. Is the activity essential?  

    1. Can the activity be done virtually?  

    1. If there is no other choice, then can the activity be done safely consistent with the “Stay at Home” order? This means individuals are separated by distance, not congregating in close proximity and the health of participants (students, educators and others) is protected.  

    Consulting the local health department is advisable and encouraged. 

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Nonpublic Schools Serving Scholarship Students:

    Are nonpublic schools still permitted to provide services during this time?
    Nonpublic schools are subject to the school-building closure order of March 17, 2020, and the extension of that order. As such, students should not be in these schools. At the same time, schools should be working to provide education and special education services through alternative means. Schools are able to invoice for general education services (tuition) only when special education services have been provided.  

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    Can schools provide in-person services in alternative locations?

    Schools should consider the following three questions as they think through how best to provide special education services to students with disabilities:  

    1. Is the activity essential?  

    1. Can the activity be done virtually?  

    1. If there is no other choice, then can the activity be done safely and consistent with the “Stay at Home” order? This means individuals are separated by distance, not congregating in close proximity and the health of participants (students, educators and others) is protected.  

         Consulting the local health department is advisable and encouraged. 

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Services Provided by Electronic Delivery or Telehealth Communication

    Can services be provided to scholarship students through electronic delivery or telehealth communication?

    Governor DeWine signed an Executive Order on March 19, 2020, adopting an emergency rule expanding telehealth services for Medicaid providers. On March 27, 2020, he signed House Bill 197, which includes a provision1 specifying that a licensed person may provide services within the scope of practice authorized by the person’s license by electronic delivery method or telehealth communication to any student participating in the Autism or Jon Peterson Scholarship Programs who was receiving those services, regardless of the method of delivery, prior to the ordered school-building closure period.  

    This provision applies to licenses issued by the following licensing boards:  

    • Ohio Speech and Hearing Professionals Board; 

    • Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board; 

    • State Board of Psychology of Ohio; 

    • Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board of Ohio; 

    • Intervention specialists licensed by the Ohio Department of Education. 


    ​Licensing boards should not take disciplinary actions because services were delivered in such a manner. Any telehealth services provided must be agreed to in writing by the provider and parent and include associated measurable goals and objectives. 

    1 Section 16 of H.B. 197 of the 133rd General Assembly.

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Last Modified: 5/21/2020 11:30:49 AM