When the pandemic hit in 2020, all schools shifted to online learning, and students could only rely on the internet to complete their assignments, papers, and other requirements – this included students living with disabilities.
To help overcome potential challenges related to online accessibility, website owners are required to adjust their sites to make them more inclusive.
Non-ADA compliant educational and school websites can impede a student’s learning, which is why accessibility is such a hot topic.
When educational websites are ADA compliant, everyone, including students with special disabilities, won’t have a hard time accessing sites to get the information they need.
Online learning will be less challenging for everyone, and disabled students will not feel discriminated against when all educational websites are ADA compliant.
ADA Compliance Basics for Education Sites
As online learning continuously becomes the norm, digital and website accessibility is essential to ensure the inclusion of everyone and to avoid discrimination.
Schools and other educational institutions need to understand the importance of web accessibility in education and the standards they need to follow to achieve ADA compliance and prevent lawsuits.
Based on data from October 30, 2020, 25% of cases undergoing investigation by the Office of Civil Rights in the United States Department of Education are linked to website accessibility.
Because of the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of cases is expected to increase tremendously.
Who Can Complain About Non-compliance and Where to Lodge Complaints
It’s essential to remember that anyone can complain and file a lawsuit against websites that don’t comply with ADA standards and requirements.
Whether you’re a concerned parent, a student, or a public servant, you can file your complaints by contacting the Office of Civil Rights.
However, you must remember that you will not necessarily receive any compensation for filing a complaint. Unless the case goes to court, that is.
According to the Office of Civil Rights, most complaints and grievances were filed by small advocate groups that are working toward a more inclusive society.
What the Americans with Disabilities Act Requires from Educational Websites
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all school and educational websites to be ADA compliant. ADA compliance is especially important for people with auditory, motor, visual, and cognitive disabilities. In addition, it ensures that everyone can access all content across school websites.
Other Prevalent Laws Related to Educational Website Accessibility
There are also other regulations and laws governing web accessibility for schools and other educational institutions.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates all agencies with federal funding to make their websites accessible to everyone.
These agencies include secondary and elementary educational institutions that receive funding from the Educational Department, the Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program, and Health and Human Services.
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