E-Bulletin June 23, 2020

June 23, 2020

We post our bi-weekly bulletin to keep you up to date on disability-related resources, news, and other items of interest. This information is being provided solely for non-commercial, nonprofit educational purposes, including news reporting and research. It is not intended for commercial purposes. Further, we understand that our readers generally read the articles and information online, at the websites provided in the hyperlinks, rather than relying solely on our synopses or copies. We are not responsible for the accessibility or the content of other websites. Please be aware that some links provided are time sensitive, and may become inactive at any time.

We include links to articles, editorials and opinion pieces, press releases, and other materials that represent diverse perspectives. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any products, services, sources, information, or opinions expressed in these materials.

Visit the Trainings section for more information on ADA and disability related trainings, meetings, and conferences.

General News

Department of Justice Announces Launch of Civil Rights Reporting Portal

The Department of Justice announced the launch of the Civil Rights Reporting Portal, a new online tool designed to make it easier for the public to report civil rights violations.

“Ensure Every Vote Counts”

This opinion piece highlights how many people with disabilities are part of the electorate, and urges state officials to make sure the votes of individuals with disabilities are not lost due to inaccessible voting systems.

OCR Resolves Complaints after State of Connecticut and Private Hospital Safeguard the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Have Reasonable Access to Support Persons in Hospital Settings During COVID-19

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached an Early Case Resolution (ECR) with the State of Connecticut after the state issued an executive order regarding non-visitation policies for short-term hospitals, outpatient clinics, and outpatient surgical facilities. The order is designed to ensure that non-visitor policies are reasonably modified for patients with disabilities who may need a support person.

“Americans with Disabilities Need More Support During Pandemic, Say Advocates”

In this news segment, two disability advocates share the details of their current efforts to urge Congress to offer additional support to people with disabilities during the current pandemic. 

New Book Disability Law and Policy Released for 30th Anniversary of the ADA

This new book from Peter Blanck, Burton Blatt Institute Chairman and University Professor at Syracuse University, offers a compendium of stories about how our legal system has responded to the needs of impacted individuals.

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Employment News

“Job Numbers Up for Americans with Disabilities as COVID Restrictions Ease”

This article summarizes the most recent report from the National Trends in Disability Employment - Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). The report shows increases in labor participation rates and employment-to-population ratios for people with and without disabilities. This article also features information about the GI Go Fund's programs for helping veterans transition from active duty to civilian jobs.

EEOC Issues Updated COVID-19 Technical Assistance Publication Addressing Antibody Testing

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its technical assistance publication addressing questions about COVID-19 in the context of federal equal employment opportunity laws.

The updated material explains that, in light of current CDC Interim Guidelines, the ADA at this time does not allow employers to require antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace. An antibody test does not meet the ADA’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations of current employees. Note that an antibody test is different from a test to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 (i.e., a viral test), which the EEOC has already stated is permissible under the ADA.

Opinion: “3 Ways Candidates Can Make a Real Difference on Disability Employment”

The author of this article asks, “What more can government do to budge the needle on disability employment?” He then offers his insight into the three policy changes candidates should consider in order to create real change.

“Returning to Work with a Mental Illness Is Possible”

This author discusses returning to work for individuals with mental health disabilities, and outlines the benefits of the Ticket to Work program for those individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Employment and Training Administration Releases Workplace Resources for People with Intellectual Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) launched this collection of resources to help workforce professionals better understand individuals with intellectual disabilities and how to create employment opportunities.

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Transportation News

Opinion: “COVID-19's Transportation Implications for People with Disabilities”

This article shares concerns about how the current disruptions in transportation service, as well as limitations due to COVID-19 risk, are impacting people with disabilities.

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Legal News

 “Does Disabilities Law Prohibit Mental Health Bias in Bar Admissions? Law Grad Seeks Cert”

This article reports on a law school graduate’s petition for certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether Illinois officials discriminated against him under the ADA when they refused to admit him to the bar.

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Education and Transition News

Cornell University Guide to Hybrid and On-line Learning

The Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation has released a new resource that provides guidance on developing hybrid or on-line learning. The guide includes a section on “Accessibility, Accommodation, and Inclusion,” which offers tips and tools for ensuring access for people with disabilities.

“Marvel Superheroes, Major Lawsuits and Universal Accessibility on Standardized Tests”

This article highlights the widespread accessibility issues in standardized testing and test preparation, and also provides a list of best practices to help address them.

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Technology News

“United Spinal and University of Pittsburgh Launch 'My Wheelchair Guide" Mobile App”

United Spinal Association and the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh co-developed the ‘My Wheelchair Guide’ manual wheelchair mobile app (MWG Manual), which includes tools and resources to guide consumers through the wheelchair selection, delivery, and maintenance process, as well as handling health issues related to wheelchair use.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

Survey on Social Connectedness and Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) is conducting a survey on how wireless technology can be used to create and maintain social connections for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The survey is open to individuals with IDD, parents and guardians, and the professionals who support individuals with IDD. The deadline to participate is July 12, 2020.

Access Board Initiates Update of Accessibility Guidelines for Rail Cars: Seeks Public Comment

The U.S. Access Board is initiating rulemaking to update accessibility guidelines for rail cars covered by the ADA. The rulemaking will address vehicles used in fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, and intercity rail. The comment period has been extended to July 14, 2020.

U.S. Department of Transportation Inclusive Design Challenge

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the opening of Stage I of the Inclusive Design Challenge. The Challenge seeks innovative design solutions that can enable people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities to use automated vehicles. Stage I concept proposals are due October 30, 2020.

Celebrate and Share: #ThanksToTheADA

Check out the ADA National Network’s video to find out how you can share what the ADA has meant to you through the #ThanksToTheADA social media campaign, and find more information about how you can celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

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