Special Session: COVID-19 and the ADA: Implications for Title II and Post-Secondary Education

Thursday, August 27, 2020
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated significant changes in how programs and activities are conducted and necessitated entities to make changes in their policies and procedures to address the risks and meet the local and state mandates to prevent transmission. This session will lay out the basics for analyzing how the ADA applies to the current pandemic and explore a variety of issues including voting, effective communication, emergency preparedness, public transportation, modifications to programs and services offered by local and state government entities, public health issues such as COVID-19 testing and face mask mandates and issues faced by administrators and students in post-secondary education settings.

The presenters encourage participants to submit questions in advance but will also take questions during the live session Q&A period. The session will include Closed captioning and Sign Language Interpreter. Please note that this is a 2 hour session.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
Certificate of Attendance 2


Paul Grossman, Retired, Chief Regional Civil Rights Attorney, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

Nancy Horton, Information Specialist, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

John Wodatch, Former, Chief Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division United States Department of Justice

Questions for presenters:

1 For a public library offering programs online what is the best way to make sure they are accessible besides offering captioning?
2 Hello- Should we be issuing accommodation letters to students who live at home and have a FAMILY MEMBER who is at risk for complications if they contract COVID-19? But they do not have a health condition themselves? Thank you.
3 Could anyone assist with obtaining ADA Attorneys in Michigan?
4 Would you please explain any differences in COVID-19 accommodation planning/impact between ADA Title II and ADA Title III institutions? Thank you.
5 The Governor in the State of WA indicates that in-person public meetings are not necessary but outlines how to hold public meetings with a minimum requirement of a telephonic conference call. http://mrsc.org/Home/Stay-Informed/MRSC-Insight/March-2020/Governor-Issues-Proclamation_20-28.aspx. Should "remote access" include at minimum ways for people with hearing impairment/deaf or other communication disabilities to "participate" in a public meeting? Allow them to phone in questions, participate via computer/phone, or request assistance by some other means?
6 While the EEOC has said the COVID-19 pandemic may be considered a "direct threat" the DOJ has not made any similar comment with regards to Title II issues. If a state had a mandate to wear a face covering due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, if someone could not or refused to wear a face covering (whether or not due to a disability), could a Title II entity, due the "direct threat" the person posed to other passengers, refuse to allow the individual to ride a bus or rail? Or from taking a driver's skill test since it is not possible to social distance in a vehicle and the individual may pose a risk to the examiner?
7 Do you see a problem with requiring persons to make an appointment for services (by phone or email) and deny "walk-in" service to limit the number of non-employees in a facility to help slow the spread of COVID-19? ("Walk-in" service would require allowing people to gather and wait in a lobby/reception area or even outside a building.)
8 A freshman student with an anxiety disorder wants a single dorm room due to his anxiety concerning COVID 19. The college only provides single rooms for juniors and seniors. Is the college required to provide the single room? Can the college charge the single room price or must it charge the double room price?
9 Secondary school question if not off topic: Parent (employed as a teacher) of a child with severe health issues and immune deficiency is being required to teach in person instead of an online teaching option. MN
10 What should staff do if someone enters the library without a masks and says they have a medical condition that precludes them from wearing a mask? Does ADA require us to let them continue using the library in-person without a mask?
11 When it comes to asthma or sensory needs how do you assess when to accommodate in a recreation setting For a title 2 agency (park district)? (Ie when would not wearing a mask be an accommodation? Since gaining assess to the service requires their physical presence - ex we can’t recreate for them like we could shop for them)
12 Unlike Title III, for Title II entities, some of the services are difficult to provide a modification for if someone is unable to use a mask or face covering. Would DOJ consider those unable to wear a face covering of any kind pose a direct threat to the safety of others? During this pandemic, would an entity be able to deny service if a modification or accommodation is not possible? This would appear to be an issue in the following examples: - transportation: rail, bus, paratransit, etc. - Exams such as for a motor vehicle road test - Recreational classes (e.g. crafts, music, dance, exercise, etc.) - Play equipment - Library study areas