Enrollment policies for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (October 2018 School Leader Update)
Guidance for enrollment policies regarding children who are not toilet trained:
If the child is eligible for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP) based on age and Iowa residency, the child is eligible for participation in the program regardless of whether the child is toilet trained. Based on preschool program standards and criteria, there would be policies in place for procedures to be implemented for children not yet toilet trained and these policies should be implemented in classroom practice.
This is a potential Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Iowa Civil Rights Act issue if the toileting needs are or might be due to a disability. Under the ADA, the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S.D.O.J.) has stated that centers, whether publicly run or privately run, cannot exclude children with disabilities who are not toilet-trained. This analysis would also apply to faith-based community preschool partners, who would ordinarily be exempt from the ADA. This is because the ADA prohibits contracting with entities that engage in disability-based discrimination. More information is available in a Commonly Asked Questions document developed by the U.S.D.O.J (see Questions 15 and 16). Please note that the analysis from the U.S.D.O.J. is focused on the provider, not the type of funding received for the child. This analysis would apply to non-SWVPP programs as well. The only exception to this is if the child’s lack of toilet training has no relationship at all to an actual or potential disability after careful review of data by a school team.
Guidance for enrollment policies regarding children with needs for medication administration:
If the child is enrolling in the SWVPP (district site or community partner site), that child may not be excluded because of medication administration policies. In the case of a community partner site, the partner must accept the child (or the district would not be able to continue the partnership). Under the ADA and Iowa Civil Rights act, a school district could not participate in a partnership that discriminates based on disability (actual or perceived). See Question 14 from the U.S.D.O.J.’s Commonly Asked Questions document.
If the child is enrolling in a non-SWVPP district or accredited non-public school program that is not operated by a faith-based provider, the ADA would still apply. The Iowa Civil Rights Act applies to all providers, including faith-based providers. The Department of Human Services licensing requirements would also require compliance with the ADA.
For questions related to special education, contact Thomas Mayes at Thomas.Mayes@iowa.gov. For questions related to medication administration, contact Melissa Walker at Melissa.Walker@iowa.gov or Nicole Proesch at Nicole.Proesch@iowa.gov.