Education Department to assist school IT professionals with digital accessibility

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The U.S. Department of Education will begin offering guidance and tips to information technology professionals about how to make the websites and online programs of their education institutions more accessible.

The “technical assistance” initiative — announced Thursday, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which promotes accessibility and inclusion through technology and digital tools — will be led by the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and will be delivered in a series of webinars, the first of which is scheduled for later this month.

Officials at OCR will work with IT leaders from U.S. schools, districts, state-level education agencies, libraries, colleges and universities on ways to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities.

“As more educational opportunities are delivered online, we need to ensure those programs, services and activities are accessible to everyone,” Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, said in a statement. “OCR’s technical assistance will help us continue to forge important partnerships with schools for the benefit of students and parents with disabilities.”

The first webinar will be held on May 29, the second on June 5 and the third on June 12 — all at 1 p.m. ET.

A statement from the Education Department left open the possibility for additional webinars and encouraged IT professionals to invite their vendors and partners to attend as well.

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