A project of the Institute for Human Centered Design
February 2021 Newsletter
ADA Question of the Month
Question: :: I am a new student at a New England college. I have a learning disability that was accommodated with an IEP in high school. One of the most important accommodations was having extra time to take quizzes and exams. Will I be able to get similar accommodations in college? What if my professor refuses to provide me with accommodations?

The answer is at the end of the newsletter.
COVID-19 Updates
As Hospitals Fear Being Overwhelmed By COVID-19, Do The Disabled Get The Same Access?
Stethoscope next to a pen on a white paper form
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge demand on our healthcare system. With diminishing resources, one question has been raised, one that people with disabilities and the elderly have worried about since the start of the coronavirus pandemic: Are they denied care when healthcare supplies gets scarce — like drugs or treatment, including ventilators? An NPR investigation looked into a dozen reports of discrimination.

Image source: image courtesy of Pixnio.
Participate: Survey on COVID-19 Information and Department of Developmental Services Community Residence/Group Home
Recently the EEOC updated their guidance for the COVID-19 vaccination. The availability of COVID-19 vaccinations may raise questions about the applicability of various equal employment opportunity laws. The laws do not interfere with or prevent employers from following CDC or other federal, state, and local public health authorities’ guidelines and suggestions.

Image source: file image.
New England ADA Center's ADA and COVID-19 Webpage
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
People with disabilities have a right of participation in society even during a pandemic. We have collected resources to help people understand their ADA rights during the pandemic. Read more about how the ADA relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional News
RI Governor's Commission on Disabilities (GCD) Continues Their Year-long Celebration of the ADA 30th Anniversary
Rhode Island Governor's Commission on Disabilities Logo
The GCD continues their celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act with an episode of their History of Disabilities in RI podcast. It focuses on both the development of the community mental health system in RI and an in-depth discussion of the relationship between the community mental health system and race.

Participate: The Disability Law Center (DLC) Seeks Your Input
Disability Law Center, The protection & advocacy agency for people with disabilities. Text circles around a faded image of the scales of justice.
Do you know an adult with an intellectual or developmental disability who lives in a Department of Developmental Services (DDS) funded group home/community residence? The DLC is looking for your input about experiences in DDS community residences/group homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses gathered from the survey will inform their monitoring and advocacy work. All responses provided are confidential.

New England ADA Center is Open and Provides Webinars on the Americans with Disabilities Act
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
During this pandemic, compliance with the ADA is even more critical whether you are a municipality, non-profit organization, state agency or business. We are open for business and here to take your ADA questions. Let us help you ensure that everyone can participate in your services. The New England ADA Center provides webinars on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact us at 800-949-4232 or info@NewEnglandADA.org with your questions or to request a training.

National News
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Reaches an Agreement with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
AMTRAK, Blue lettering with a sweep of blue white lines to look like tracks crossing the country
The DOJ alleges Amtrak violated Title II of the ADA by failing to make the existing stations for which it is responsible in its intercity rail transportation system readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs. Furthermore the DOJ alleges this has harmed passengers with disabilities using or seeking to use Amtrak’s services.

Web accessibility, text  surrounds a tablet with an image of a green stick figure with open arms.
The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft of W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0. They are seeking input from evaluators, developers, designers, project managers, policy makers, people with disabilities, and others — particularly on the structure and the draft conformance model by February 26, 2021.

Image source: file image.
New Fact Sheet: Addiction, Recovery and State and Local Governments
The ADA National Network has released the third factsheet in our ‘ADA, Addiction, and Recovery’ series! Learn more about how the ADA applies to state and local governments for people with addiction to alcohol and people in recovery from opioids and other drugs by visiting our newest factsheet: Addiction, Recovery and State and Local Governments. View our other factsheets on addiction, recovery and the ADA on our website.
White House Briefings Will Now Include an American Sign Language Interpreter
Recently, the Biden administration announced that an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will attend every daily White House press briefings. The decision, which has already been celebrated by advocates, will make the briefings more accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The administration further stated, "The president is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just, and more accessible for every American including Americans with disabilities and their families."

Doctors Share Views on Patients with Disabilities
Line drawing of patient and doctor sitting at a desk.
A recent survey reports that most physicians associate disabilities with a worse quality of life. The finding may contribute to care disparities in the health care system.
The senior author of the study added, “Our results clearly raise concern about the ability of the health care system to ensure equitable care for people with disability.”

Image source: image courtesy of the nounproject.com.
ADA National Network Celebrates 30 Years of Service
ADA National Network Celebrating 30 Years!
Did you know the ADA National Network is entering its 30th year of service? In 2021, we will share videos, memories, and events to celebrate 30 years of providing information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Thank you for being part of our family and community over the years! Follow #ADANetwork30 to learn more about our anniversary events!
As always, our ADA specialists are here to help. Contact us at 1-800-949-4232 (toll-free voice or TTY) or email us at info@NewEnglandaDA.org.
Answer to the ADA Question of the Month
Answer: :Yes, it is possible to request and receive academic adjustments under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and reasonable modifications of policies, practices and procedures under the ADA. Colleges and universities need to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability for students with disabilities. We would also recommend that the college establish an appeals process for students who don’t agree with the college’s decisions. The U.S. Department of Education has listed extra time as an academic adjustment in its guidance material. The school’s disability services office will be able to work with you and your professors to ensure that you are provided your approved academic adjustments.  Learn more about Postsecondary Institutions and Students With Disabilities.
Stay Connected:
We strive to ensure the Newsletter and the content we share is accessible. Unfortunately we have limited control of external websites. Please email us at adainfo@newenglandada.org if you encounter any issues accessing the newsletter or related content.

Access New England features topics related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originating from the ADA Center, our state affiliates, the ADA National Network, and national sources.

The New England ADA Center is a member of the ADA National Network funded by the Administration for Community Living through National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Grant  90DP0087.