COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Two

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COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Two

The U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at  www.ed.gov/coronavirus. The page will be continuously updated by the Department. Below are brief overviews of what can be found in some of the materials on issues with civil rights and students with disabilities. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so keep checking the blog!

  • Addressing COVID-19 Risk in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students
    The Department issued a fact sheet discussing the importance of maintaining federal civil rights requirements during the Coronavirus pandemic. This fact sheet, located here, includes information on:

    • Denial of Access on the Basis of Race, Color, or National Origin – reminding school officials that they may not stereotype or make assumptions about a protected class in determining risk factors for school closures (page 2).
    • Obligations for schools under the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to maintain education services for students with disabilities (page 2-3). 
  • Q/A On Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During Coronavirus Outbreak
    The Department issued a broad but informal guide on how local educational agencies (LEAs) and early intervention services can collaborate with state educational agencies (SEAs) to provide and ensure continued services for children with disabilities and their families. That document, located here, includes many questions that the Department has received and aims to provide guidance based on those questions. This includes:

    • Situations in which LEAs are required to continue to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities (page 1);
    • Services that LEAs must provide when schools for children with disabilities are selectively closed (page 3);
    • Activities that IDEA Part B funds (page 5) and Part C funds (page 8) may and may not be used for during Coronavirus outbreak; and
    • When a state lead agency must continue to provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities if offices are closed (page 7).
  • Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility
    The Office of Civil Rights released a short webinar on ensuring accessibility of online education and websites for everyone – with a focus on ensuring that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in services, programs and activities. This webinar:

    • Urges that online education and websites should be accessible to those using assistive technology, such as speech recognition or eye-tracking software;
    • Recommends both automated and manual routine testing of websites to ensure that individuals are able to fully access the websites’ content using assistive technology; and
    • Directs any questions or technical assistance requests to be emailed to the OCR Web Access Team at OCRWebAccessTA@ed.gov.
      Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy