Frequently Asked Questions about Web and Technology Accessibility
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the World Wide Web, which is accessed by the internet and has become known simply as “the Web”.
More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.
What is accessible technology?
Accessible Technology is also referred to as “Assistive Technology” or “Auxiliary Aids and Services.”
It includes software, equipment, and programs that make content available for use by people with disabilities. Some examples are screen readers used by people who are blind or partially-sighted, video captioning for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or special programming in software that allows for a wide variety of input devices for people with mobility disabilities.
Why is web and technology accessibility important?
As the world relies more and more on technology it is imperative that people with disabilities have access to content and equipment to enable them to fully participate in many fields, including education.
Why does Lowell Public Schools provide web and technology accessibility?
Aside from the importance of web and technology accessibility to allow access to people with disabilities, it is the law.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. These laws mandate that people with disabilities are afforded equal access, regardless of their disability, to programs and services that are provided by public entities. This includes public schools.
What do the laws require?
The laws require that:
- People with disabilities not be discriminated against,
- Communications with people with disabilities are as effective as communications with others and
- That the district make reasonable modifications of practices to ensure equal opportunity and access to website content, software, and equipment for people with disabilities.
Do I have to pay for the accommodations or modifications?
No, these services must be provided free of charge to qualifying individuals with a disability.
What does qualifying individuals mean?
For the purpose of nondiscrimination generally, a “qualifying individual” means “someone who has a record of, or is perceived as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
For the specific purposes of receiving effective communication or modification of practices, a person must currently have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
How do I make sure that the district's website is accessible to me as a person with a disability?
Lowell Public Schools is in the process of making sure its websites meet accessibility guidelines.
If, because of a disability, you are unable to access content or software on the district’s website, you should call the Lowell Public Schools’ web accessibility coordinator at 978-674-2159 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens if the website content cannot be modified to ensure equal access?
Lowell Public Schools is required to make the same information available to people with disabilities through other means, such as providing hard copies of web content.
Are there any limits on the kinds of effective communication provided for people with disabilities?
Yes. The district is not required to take actions that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or undue financial and administrative burdens on the district. However, those situations are extremely rare and such determinations are made in accordance with the district’s policy.
What if I do not have a computer or the computer that I am using is not working properly?
The Lowell Public Schools provides access to a computer that parents, students and members of the community make use to access the Lowell Public School’s Web Content. The computer is available to be used on the premises of the Family Resource Center on a first come first serve basis. The Family Resource Center is located at 155 Merrimack Street, 1st Floor, Lowell, MA 01852. The contact number is 978-674-4321 and the hours are from 8:30- 4:00 pm.
If I have concerns or problems, who do I contact?
If the problem concerns a student with a disability, the student’s Section 504 or Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team should be informed of the problem.
For parents, guardians, caregivers, and members of the public, contact the Lowell Public Schools accessibility coordinator at 978-674-2159 or by email at email@example.com. Employees should contact Human Resource at 978-674-4327