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Students with Special Health Care Needs in K-12 Virtual Schools

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Journal of Educational Technology & Society Volume 19, Number 1, ISSN 1176-3647 e-ISSN 1176-3647


This study sought to establish a baseline for understanding the epidemiology of online K-12 students with special health care needs, determine the prevalence in K-12 online schooling of students from certain racial/ethnic backgrounds, those with socioeconomic disadvantages, and determine how these students perform in online classes compared to their prior experiences in traditional, face-to-face programs. Data from two different studies was used to address these questions with the goal to support virtual K-12 schools, blended programs, and teachers as they continue to implement best practices for all students. Students with special health care needs attending virtual school are underrepresented in the literature. A possible explanation is that these students are not identified. However, current research suggests that high-risk students, with or without a disability, are choosing virtual school as a viable option (Cavanaugh, Repetto, & Wayer, 2011). The Children with Special Health Care Needs screener can be used to identify these students in order to provide support beyond their Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students who need extra support, self-pacing, or cannot attend school physically can potentially benefit from virtual schooling.


Fernandez, H., Ferdig, R.E., Thompson, L.A., Schottke, K. & Black, E.W. (2016). Students with Special Health Care Needs in K-12 Virtual Schools. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(1), 67-75. Retrieved December 9, 2022 from .

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