Website review

Department of Education steps up disability-related compliance reviews

The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is working hard on digital accessibility. (Anne Meadows/Flickr)

With a host of new actions and additional resources, federal education officials are taking steps to ensure that students with disabilities and their families can access school services.

The US Department of Education said its Office for Civil Rights will “soon launch” 100 compliance reviews focused on digital accessibility.

The reviews will target K-12 schools and districts, post-secondary institutions, state departments of education, libraries and vocational rehabilitation services, the agency said.

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Officials said they will review whether everything from online learning to school websites and platforms used to communicate with parents or provide them with resources complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The crackdown was announced as the Department of Education hosted a first-ever virtual summit aimed at helping schools and communities support students with disabilities and mental health needs.

In addition to the new compliance reviews, the Civil Rights Office said it is introducing a series of 20 parts of how-to videos to help educators understand their responsibilities in terms of website accessibility and the technological barriers that exist for parents and students with disabilities in modern education.

The Civil Rights Office said its National Digital Accessibility Team has resolved more than 1,000 digital accessibility cases since its inception less than three years ago. The video series, which was released in partnership with the ADA National Network, is informed by those experiences, the agency said.

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