Issue 2, April 25, 2020
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In today’s age of advance technology, a lot of devices, gadgets, and programs are built to make our lives easier and more convenient. While the more recent innovations were designed for entertainment, some companies are taking technology to the next level by incorporating a high level of help and hopefully, to make a difference to the lives of people who need it the most.
One of the biggest challenges for school districts across the country that are delivering distance learning to millions of students at home because of the covid-19 crisis is providing legally required services to students with disabilities. Under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, school districts must offer all students an equitable education or they are not supposed to offer it to any of them. Not many school systems have come up with a way to extend online learning and other critical services to the 7 million children with disabilities across the country.
As cases related to the novel coronavirus continue to strain hospitals, doctors face difficult choices about rationing scarce medical resources like ventilators – choices that will likely determine who lives and who dies. Several states’ policies tell providers to allocate scarce resources to those most likely to benefit. For example, Washington state recently adopted a policy that favors “the survival of young otherwise healthy patients more heavily than that of older, chronically debilitated patients.” Similar new guidelines have been issued in Massachusetts as well.
Current Legal Actions
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider what threshold workers must meet to prove that their employers discriminated against them on the basis of their disability. The justices rejected Richard Natofsky’s challenge to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision that threw out his lawsuit alleging the New York City government gave him poor evaluations and demoted him due to his hearing impairment. Natofsky failed to show that those adverse employment actions wouldn’t have taken place but for his disability, the appeals court said.
Online grocery and food delivery services have become crucial tools amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, lack of high-speed internet and other accessibility issues can put these services out of reach for some of those most vulnerable to COVID-The elderly, people with disabilities, lower-income people, people of color, and the unbanked are more likely to face obstacles when trying to use these services.
We are all struggling with the Corona Virus pandemic right now. Many nonprofits are focusing on how to help their constituency with the issue. Now is not the time to throw stones. We know that in the crush of events websites will be put up and altered and may not meet accessibility requirements. We will track issues and reach out when possible to assist organizations in providing accessible information online. If you have a problem accessing information on a site please let us know and we will do what we can to help. Email us at [email protected] Forgetting the me and concentrating on we, we are all in this together!
Commonlook provides free education on digital Accessibility. CommonLook’s Spring 2020 Webinar Series. Since most of us are working from home these days, we thought it was a perfect time to offer two separate FREE webinar series on PDF accessibility.General PDF Accessibility Webinars 30-minutes or 60-minutes long depending upon the topic. Thursdays at 2:00 pm EST, 1:00 pm CST, 11:00 am PST.