The American Council of the Blind is closely monitoring information about the COVID-19 virus and its impact. Access this page to get updates about our response to COVID-19.
Your ACB family has opportunities for you to connect with others from the comfort of your home if you are socially distancing. Join one of our conference calls and stay in touch with your ACB community! To learn more, visit www.acb.org/acb-community-events.
We recommend that all affiliates follow CDC guidelines for any scheduled events. You can find the most up-to-date CDC guidelines here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.
ACB is aware that many of our members and affiliates have moved to a virtual environment for work, events, and other activities. To assist with this change, ACB is offering Zoom related resources to help those who are new to the platform or would like to learn more advanced skills. To learn basic tips for hosting and participating in a Zoom meeting, visit: https://tinyurl.com/wm348ts. For troubleshooting tips and discussion related to setting up Zoom to host a meeting, visit: https://tinyurl.com/tkwcxt4.
Accessible COVID-19 Tests
- ACB and the Department of Health and Human Services Announce That More Accessible COVID-19 At-Home Tests Are Now Available: On June 22, 2022, the federal government announced a new initiative to expand the availability of testing options that are more accessible for people who are blind or low vision and who use a smartphone. Now, people who are blind or low vision may order more accessible COVID-19 at-home tests. When connected to a smartphone application, these tests are capable of providing audible testing instructions and results to make the COVID-19 testing process more private and independent for people who are blind or low vision.
- People Who Are Blind Or Low Vision Can Now Receive 12 Accessible COVID-19 Tests: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced the number of tests people will receive with each order of the more-accessible tests has been increased from two to 12.
COVID-19 Tests for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision: Where to find accessible COVID-19 tests as well as resources about the accessible tests.
General COVID-19 Resources:
- Easy to Read COVID-19 Safety Resources are Now Available on the CDC Website: These resources are available thanks to the COVID-19 Accessible Materials and Culturally Relevant Messages for Individuals with Disabilities Project, led by Georgia Tech’s Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI). This is a CDC Foundation-funded communications initiative to which CDC is an advisor. The project aims to deliver essential COVID-19 information in Braille, American Sign Language (ASL), simplified text, and other alternative formats to people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers. ASL (American Sign Language) videos continue to be available on the CDC YouTube channel and more are being produced in the coming weeks, so check back periodically.
- COVID-19 and the Disability Vote Policy Report: This report from AAPD explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on voting accessibility and key policy recommendations to ensure that voters with disabilities have full access to our democracy in 2020 and beyond.
- Accessible COVID-19 Statistics Tracker: An accessible tracker that conveys stats in easy-to-read data tables.
- Google COVID-19 Information & Resources: Education, prevention, local and state-based resources, safety & prevention tips, and search trends related to COVID-19, as well as additional resources for individuals, educators and businesses. The microsite is also available in Spanish: https://www.google.com/intl/es_us/covid19/
- Comcast Commitment to Help Keep Americans Connected: Comcast will continue to provide 60 days of free Internet service to new, eligible Internet Essentials customers through the end of this year, learn more here. Comcast is also extending free access to the 1.5 million public Xfinity WiFi hotspots to anyone who needs them, including non-customers, through the end of 2020, learn more here. Additionally Comcast is continuing to help college students stay connected to the Internet over the Summer and through the Fall back-to-school rush by extending an Xfinity Internet offering that provides $150 Visa prepaid card to students who sign up for service by September 30; more than enough to pay for two months of Internet service, learn more here. Visit this page for more Comcast resources.
- CCD COVID-19 Legislative Response Webinar Recording (with closed captioning): A recording of the CCD webinar, “COVID-19 Legislative Response” held on 4/19 to educate the disability community about progress made in the initial congressional COVID-19 packages and CCD’s priorities for the fourth congressional COVID-19 package.
- NFB-NEWSLINE: Access "Breaking News” for updates on COVID-19.
- Crisis Text Counselors: Anxious about coronavirus? Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
- FDA Webpage for Patients and Caregivers with COVID-19: information to help address questions patients and caregivers may have about FDA-regulated medical products (drugs, biologics, and devices) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- Coronavirus Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired Community
- Dinner Delivered - Accessible and Easy Ways to Receive Meals Direct to Your Door: National Braille Press free digital book download.
- Getting Visual Assistance with an iPhone: National Braille Press free digital book download.
- Navigating Healthcare, When All They Can See Is that You Can't: National Braille Press free digital book download.
Traveling During the COVID-19 Pandemic with Disabilities: This guide covers everything from your rights, questions to ask your doctor and ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure.
- Email List for Zoom Related Questions and Support: While Zoom is very accessible with screen readers there's still a lot to learn and many people have questions. To help, an email list has been created to provide support on how to use the Zoom program. To join the group, send an email to [email protected]. To send a message to the group, email [email protected].
- Hotkeys and Keyboard Shortcuts for Zoom
- Meet Me Accessibly – A Guide to Zoom Cloud Meetings from a Blindness Perspective: If you're new user, this free audiobook can provide basic information to help you navigate Zoom with a screen reader.
- Free Offer for College Students in Need of Aira: Many universities and colleges are rapidly shifting to distance learning and some materials and software being used are inaccessible. Aira is offering free access for any college student for the remainder of the spring semester ending in May 2020. Please email [email protected] for more information.
- Join Virtual Lessons for At-Home Education: The American Printing House for the Blind is offering free engaging lessons for students with a variety of abilities.
- 5 Accessibility Actions You Can Take When You’re Moving Your Conference or Classes Online: A resource compiled by the American Foundation for the Blind.
- Coping with School Closures During COVID-19: Resources for teachers of blind and visually impaired students.
- Free Audiobooks from Audible: Stream a collection of stories for kids of all ages, including titles across six different languages.
- Office of Civil Rights Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility: A short webinar from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights on ensuring web accessibility for students with disabilities for schools using online learning during the coronavirus outbreak.
- ACB and AFB's Joint Letter to Senate and House Representatives: Regarding legislation or regulations that would allow the Department of Education to waive the civil rights protections of students with disabilities.
ACB in the News
- Coronavirus Restrictions Put Extra Burden on the Blind Community: Clark Rachfal, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, is quoted in this article.
Downloadable Links for ACB COVID-19 Advocacy Letters:
Final Letter: Immigrant Exclusion from COVID 3.0 Health and Economic Relief
COVID-19 Package Medications Access Letter
Transportation Access and Safety for People with Disabilities During and After COVID-19
Letter to OSERS - COVID Blind VI Education Access
CCD Ed TF Letter to Congress on IDEA Waivers & COVID
CCD AT Act Letter to House FY2021
Coalition Letter to the HHS Office of Civil Rights Opposing the Rationing of Medical Care Based on Disability
Nondiscrimination of Persons with Disabilities in Rationing of Medical Equipment During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Stimulus Payment Deadline for SSI Beneficiaries with Dependents
ACB & AFB Lead Sign-On Letter re. Education of Blind and Low Vision Students
A Letter to the U.S. Senate to Request Funding for Assistive Technology during the Pandemic
A Letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation Concerning Transportation Access and Safety for People with Disabilities During and After COVID
A Letter to State Governors to Allow for Necessary Hospital Visitor Policies for Patients with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A Letter to the National Governors’ Association to Advocate for the Needs of Passengers with Disabilities as Transportation Systems Reopen After the COVID-19 Pandemic
A Letter to Congress Opposing the SAFE TO WORK Bill
Letter of Support As Submitted for the Healthy Flights Act