Working to Meet ADA Guidelines

All Fauquier County school websites are being updated

Alexis Eck, Staff Reporter

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You may have noticed some changes on Kettle Run’s website.

Fauquier County has been updating school websites for the past three months, in effort to make them ADA (Americans Disability Act) friendly. According to schoolwebmaters.com, all school websites must be accessible to the disabled or the school district could end up the target of an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). If the school fails to correct the issue, it risks losing funding or facing a lawsuit.

A Michigan woman is credited for the increased attention to this cause. The woman has made it her goal to file complaints against schools that are not compliant. So far, she has filed more than 500 complaints.

Although these website changes may benefit individuals with a disability, students without disabilities say it is making life harder for them. For example, instead of being able to directly access the library database, students must navigate through several websites to access the same information. “They made us remove our database page from the website which had previously made it easier to access and now students have to find other ways to access it,” Librarian Kim Ritter said. “We also had a Twitter feed that we had to take off. Overall, these changes have made it a lot more difficult.”

Sophomore Anna Wood is having difficulty navigating the websites now.“After the website changed, I found it really confusing when trying to find links,” Wood said. When trying to research through the library database, you have to now go through a series of links to reach the final destination. Publications adviser Shelly Norden was also affected by the change.

“I can no longer place the Jostens link on our website due to the fact that it is not ADA compliant,” Norden said. “That makes it harder to let parents know where to go to buy a yearbook and senior baby ad. I am also going to have to do a lot of work on our school newspaper website to make sure that it is compliant next year.”

English teacher Sally Small feels the changes are necessary. “Fauquier County Public Schools needs to be ADA friendly, so all can access the website,” Small said. People with disabilities, should be able to access the sites, but students need to be informed of the changes so they are aware. It’s only fair if everyone is able to access the website, but if students and teachers are unaware of how to do that, it defeats the purpose.

In order to be compliant with the new rules, there are many things a website must do. All images, video files, audio files, plug-in, etc. must have an alt tag; all videos and images must have captions; all audio must have a description; and videos need to be linked to websites rather than embedded. These are just a few of the things that need to be done.

There are several free websites that check to see if a website is ADA compliant. These websites include:wave.webaim.org/ and https://achecker.ca/

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Working to Meet ADA Guidelines