School Districts Must Assure Access to Online Resources for Children with Disabilities

Child in wheelchair

School Districts Must Assure Access to Online Resources for Children with Disabilities

Parents–don’t let the school district give you the wrong information. School Districts Must Assure Access to Online Courses, Websites and Other Digital Resources. Districts can be held accountable if students with disabilities cannot access the website, online courses, or other digital resources.

This was true BEFORE the Coronavirus Pandemic. For instance, OCR investigated concerns under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA that individuals with disabilities, particularly those with vision impairments, could not access a district’s website in Higley (AZ) Unified School District, 115 LRP 26053 (OCR 01/14/15). The resolution agreement states that districts have a legal obligation to ensure individuals with disabilities are able to “independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interaction, and enjoy the same benefits and services within the same timeframe as their nondisabled peers.” Schools have known for a long time that they need to have ramps and remove architectural barriers, but they’re just starting to think about the digital barriers, too.

This REMAINS true DURING the Coronavirus Pandemic. The U.S. Department of Education stipulated in March 2020: “If an LEA continues to provide educational opportunities to the general student population during a school closure, the school must ensure
that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities, including the provision of FAPE. (34 CFR §§ 104.4,
104.33 (Section 504) and 28 CFR § 35.130 (Title II of the ADA)). SEAs, LEAs, and schools must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible,
each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP developed under
IDEA, or a plan developed under Section 504. (34 CFR §§ 300.101 and 300.201 (IDEA), and 34 CFR § 104.33 (Section 504)).

That’s a lot of legal language. The bottom line is, if school is in session for any students, school is in session for all students–including those with disabilities.

Find Fact Sheets and more information from the U.S. Department of Education in our FREE Parent Resource Library. Look for the Special Section on Covid-19.

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