New England ADA Center
April 2020 Newsletter

ADA Question of the Month
Question I need to go to a drive-thru testing site to be tested for coronavirus. I'm a little hard of hearing, but I can read lips. How am I going to communicate if the medical professional is wearing a face mask?
The answer is at the end of the newsletter.
COVID-19 and the ADA
drive-thru medical site
Drive-thru medical sites are one way that hospitals and health departments provide intermittent medical services (such as administering the flu vaccine) with greater ease and/or safety for their patients. Whether drive-thru sites are funded and/or operated by the state, county, or city or a private business, drive-thru medical services are required to be accessible to people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Image source: image courtesy of Brooke Army Medical Center.
WEBINAR: COVID-19, Health Care, and the ADA
On April 23, 2020, 2:30 p.m., the ADA National Network will host a free webinar addressing issues related to the pandemic. In this webinar, several ADA National Network staff from across the country will review general health care provisions in the ADA and how they apply to new issues such as temporary medical facilities, drive-thru testing sites, and other current health care issues. Registration is required an closes midnight, April, 22, 2020.

Assistive Technology (AT) Resources During COVID-19 Live Course Series  
Assistive Technology Industry Association
The Assistive Technology Industry Association has curated a series of informative sessions based on issues expressed by the AT community. The sessions are free and will be captioned and recorded. 

To learn more, click AT Resources During COVID-19.
Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
I n the current COVID-19 health crisis, people with disabilities are at double risk. The virus itself hits people with underlying conditions harder, and long-standing discrimination in our healthcare system means that people with disabilities are most likely to bear the burden of "rationing" measures that hospitals and providers will put into place as patients' needs strain the resources of the U.S. healthcare system . Guidance has been developed that  can help disabled people and family members assert and defend their rights to medical care.

Image source: image courtesy of Brooke Army Medical Center.
ADA National Network Logo
The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Health care organizations that provide services to the public are covered by the ADA. In our newest factsheet, Health Care and the Americans with Disabilities Act, you will find information on reasonable modifications, effective communication, accessible facilities, and more.

To learn more, click Health Care and the ADA.
What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19
The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws including the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act (which applies to federal employees), including the requirement for reasonable accommodation and rules about medical examinations and inquiries. This information addresses the following questions:
  • How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic?When may an ADA-covered employer take the body temperature of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the COVID-19? When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require doctors' notes certifying their fitness for duty?
  • If an employer is hiring, may it screen applicants for symptoms of COVID-19?May an employer take an applicant's temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam?
  • May an employer delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it?
  • May an employer withdraw a job offer when it needs the applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it?
To read more, click What You Should Know.
wash your hands
The coronavirus outbreak has everyone spooked, and hopefully, taking steps to control the outbreak and prepare to get through whatever may come of it. One group faces additional risks and consequences, as well as anxieties: people with disabilities and or chronic illnesses. There are five points to keep in mind about how the coronavirus outbreak affects disabled people.

To read more, click 5 Things to Know About Coronavirus.
Image source: image courtesy of Forbes by Getty Images.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The technical assistance document provides information about Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act and COVID-19 in the workplace. It identifies established principles that are relevant to questions frequently asked about workplace pandemic planning

To learn more: click Pandemic Preparedness and the ADA.
ADA National Network
Mark your calendars and join the ADA National Network and regional co-hosts for a 1-hour Twitter chat about accessible parking. Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 1pm ET. Tweet your questions and answers about accessible parking along with the hashtag #ADANetworkChat.
Captioning Settlement of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Online Content 
Disability Law Center
T he Disability Law Center (DLC) has released a notice for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to be included in the MIT class action lawsuit for it's lack of access to online content. Although you are not required to attend, as a Settlement Class Member, you have the right to attend and be heard. The hearing will take place July 14, 2020 at 11:00 am in the Hampshire Courtroom, 300 State Street, Springfield, Massachusetts 01105.

To read more, click Captioning Settlement of MIT.
face mask with see through window for lip reading
"Those who rely on lip-reading or ASL to communicate are often cut off from their source of communication when doctors and nurses don surgical masks," said college student Ashley Lawrence. To improve effective  communication Lawrence designed a reusable face mask with a see-through window.

Image source: image courtesy of Ashley Lawrence.
Best Practices: Disclosing Your Disability at Work
disclose disability
Designers offer advice on how to discuss disabilities with management. For architects with disabilities, conversations with hiring managers can be a sensitive topic. Though the profession has evolved over the past few decades to reflect greater respect for individuals with disabilities, fears of workplace discrimination remain real for many. Here designers and architects from several firms and an attorney share how to discuss any disabilities at work.

To read more, click  Disclosing Your Disability at Work.
Image source: image courtesy of Architect magazine.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides free assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) to people with disabilities, seniors, and others who may need help in preparing their taxes. Information about eligibility, VITA locations, and documentation to bring to a help session is available on the IRS website. For people with disabilities, the IRS also provides a page with accessibility information, including large print tax forms and instructional videos in American Sign Language.

To learn more, click Free Tax Preparation Assistance.
ADA 30th Anniversary Online
Thanks to the ADA
We are asking everyone to share a moment in their lives when they were thankful for the ADA.
On a social media platform of your choosing use  #ThanksToTheADA to share what the ADA means to you. This will look different for everyone, so have fun and be creative! Share any media of your choosing, (video, picture, written word, or other) and include #ThanksToTheADA.  Watch our video to learn more and get examples of ways you can participate.

To watch the video, click #ThanksToTheADA.
ADA 30 years
Throughout the year the ADA National Network and associated regional centers will celebrate 30 years of progress in access and inclusion.The goal is to increase awareness about the law and disability inclusion in our workplaces, schools and communities. Be sure to submit your events to their calendar of events. To submit an event, click Events Calendar.

To learn more, click Celebrate 30 Years of the ADA.
ADA 30 years
On July 26th, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a civil rights law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability. We celebrate how far we've come while recognizing that there is work to be done.The New England ADA Center has launched its web page to highlight events from around the region.

Americans with disabilities act google doodle
In honor of the 30th anniversary of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), people are asking Google to acknowledge this historic moment with a Google Doodle on July 26th, 2020, which was the date that George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law.  

To participate, click Help Petition for a Google Doodle.
Answer to the ADA Question of the Month
Answer: Staff communication with people who have disabilities must be as effective as it is for people without disabilities. This includes people who are eligible for drive-thru medical testing. Although necessary, face masks  could hinder communication with patients who have a communication-related disability. Staff should be prepared to communicate in different ways. Some suggestions include: standardizing a list of questions (in bold, large font) that testers can point to, using a small dry-erase board, which can be disinfected, and/or providing small note pads of paper and pencil for patients to use (and keep). To learn more, click Accessibility at Drive-Thru Medical Sites.
Stay Connected:
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter YouTube
New England ADA Center, a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design