When my district received a letter from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) telling us that our website was under review for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we were panicked. We had been seeing some information about ADA compliance and school websites on the news and through our state department of education, but we were just starting to explore the issue when the letter arrived.
Our district is small—we have about 5,500 students in nine buildings—and like many small districts, our staff tend to wear multiple hats. We don’t have a dedicated webmaster, so we dove into educating ourselves on web accessibility and compliance, including asking OCR exactly what they needed from us and bringing our school board attorney into the process to make sure we were following the law.
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How our district navigated ADA website compliance
Fortunately, we were already working with a content management system (CMS) provider, Edlio, to update our website. They explained that ADA compliance is based on the Web Content Accessibility Standards (WCAG), which includes multiple levels of accessibility, and helped us to understand and meet the guidelines to achieve WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility. We collaborated with them to put together a plan regarding what needed to change, how to accomplish it, and a timeline for getting it all done.