E-Bulletin April 27, 2021

April 27, 2021

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

“'Normal Didn't Work for Us': People with Disabilities Worry about Loss of Virtual Options”

Some people with disabilities are afraid that virtual options and accommodations that became standard in 2020 will disappear as employers, schools, and other organizations shift their focus back to in-person activities.

“7 Core Arguments of Disability Rights”

The author of this article shares seven principles that he believes “shape the aspirations and tactics of today’s disability rights movement.”

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COVID-19 News

Will People Experiencing “Long COVID" Change Disability Benefits Systems?

This article explores the challenges faced by many people who are unable to return to work due to lingering effects of COVID-19, and suggests they may lead to long-needed changes in disability benefit programs.

New Legal Guidance and Resources to Ensure -- and Expand -- Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Disabilities and Older Adults

Several offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have published new resources to help improve access to vaccines for people with disabilities and older adults.

Virginia: ADA Obligations Regarding COVID-19 Related Services

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia issued this “Dear Colleague” letter reminding community partners involved in the COVID-19 pandemic response that the ADA applies to their services. The letter includes links to a number of helpful publications from federal agencies.

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Employment News

“Coronavirus Is Not a 'Get-out-of-Jail Card' for ADA Compliance, EEOC Commish Says”

A U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) official reminded attendees at a recent American Bar Association conference that the coronavirus pandemic does not absolve employers of their ADA responsibilities. Commissioner Andrea Lucas said "it's going to be even more important to take a very careful, highly individualized look at all COVID-19 related health and safety measures as well as accommodation requests related to them" as much of the country shifts where, when, and how we work.

Videos for Employers: Hiring and Accommodating Workers with Blindness or Low Vision

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision created several video resources to educate employers about hiring and working with employees who are blind or have low vision. “Blindness Basics for Employers” is a two-part video series that provides foundational knowledge about blindness and low vision. The “Inquiring Minds” Video Series features 13 short videos answering some of the questions employers might have when considering whether to hire an applicant with blindness or low vision.

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State and Local Government News

Maryland: “Combating Voter Suppression Against Voters with Disabilities”

Access Ready, Inc. announced that it has taken the first steps toward opening discussions with the state of Maryland concerning the accessibility of electronic pollbooks slated for procurement by the state.

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Transportation News

Report: “Passengers with Disabilities: Airport Accessibility Barriers and Practices and DOT's Oversight of Airlines' Disability-Related Training”

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report about the many infrastructure, information, and customer service barriers faced by passengers with disabilities at U.S. airports. The report offers guidance on ways airports can reduce these barriers and improve accessibility.

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Legal News

Maryland: “Design and Integration, Inc. Will Pay $25,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit”

Design and Integration, Inc., a leading provider of audio-visual technology solutions, will pay $25,000 and update its policies and procedures to resolve a federal disability discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the lawsuit, a sales administrator who worked in the company's Baltimore headquarters was discharged when she requested to telework one day per week for a three- or four-week period.

Florida: 11th Circuit Finds Websites Not Bound by ADA Accessibility Rules

The panel in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores held that websites are not “places” of public accommodation covered by Title III, and that in this particular case, the store’s website did not prevent the plaintiff from accessing the goods and services of the store. The ruling vacates a lower court’s decision that the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain’s website violated the ADA because access to certain benefits and conveniences is limited for individuals such as the plaintiff, who has a vision disability and uses screen-reading software to navigate the internet.

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Education News

“A Milestone in Intercollegiate Debate”

Gallaudet and George Washington University debate teams met in what organizers believe is the first bilingual debate conducted in American Sign Language and spoken English.

Groups Push for Easier Student Loan Relief for People with Disabilities

Disability advocates are pressing the Biden administration to cancel student debt for hundreds of thousands of Americans who have disabilities that make them eligible for federal debt forgiveness, but have not applied for the benefit.

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Health and Wellness News

Report: "Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities"

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a clinical report that raises awareness about what can make a child more vulnerable to abuse, and offers new guidance to pediatricians on how to identify and address maltreatment of children with disabilities.

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Recreation News

“Playgrounds Designed with Accessibility in Mind Make Play Fun for Every Kid”

This article highlights how some designers and city administrators are making efforts to go beyond basic access and ensure that more kids with various disabilities are included in playground design.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

FCC Seeks Comment on Fulfillment of the Communications and Video Accessibility Act

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is inviting comment on whether any updates are needed to the rules implementing the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). The deadline for comment is May 24, 2021.

Idea Exchange: Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM (HEAL) Initiative

The HEAL Initiative is a comprehensive National Institutes of Health (NIH) effort to stem the national opioid public health crisis. The initiative is funding hundreds of projects nationwide to improve pain management and the prevention and treatment of opioid misuse and addiction. Join the Moving HEAL Research into Action Idea Exchange to share ideas on how science can help to address the opioid crisis and how the HEAL Initiative can share research results. The deadline for participation is June 1, 2021.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Older Adults Home Modification Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $30 million in grant funds and training resources to non-federal entities to establish the Older Adults Home Modification Grant Program. State and local government agencies and nonprofit organization may apply for funds to implement programs that make home modifications and limited repairs to help older, low-income homeowners "age in place." The application deadline is May 4, 2021.

ADA National Network Launches 30th Anniversary Celebration

The ADA National Network (ADANN) is celebrating 30 years of providing training, technical assistance, and guidance on the ADA. Throughout the year, the ADANN will be highlighting its services, success stories, and vision for the next 30 years. Visit the ADANN to learn more and find your regional ADA Center.

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