The American Council of the Blind is closely monitoring information about the COVID-19 virus and its impact. After much thoughtful consideration, ACB has decided to close both offices and move our work to a virtual environment until further notice. This decision was made in order to ensure the continued health and safety of our employees and their families. ACB staff will continue to take calls and emails during this period. When calling ACB’s direct and toll-free office numbers, please use the recorded menu to contact our staff members directly.
Your ACB family has opportunities for you to connect with others from the comfort of your home during this time of social distancing. Join one of our conference calls and stay in touch with your ACB community! To learn more, visit: https://acb.org/ACB-community-conference-calls.
The ACB Board of Directors voted unanimously to forego its annual conference and convention in Schaumburg, Illinois, amidst the growing concerns about the novel coronavirus crisis. During a special meeting convened by the board on March 30th, the elected leadership moved to explore ways in which members, partners, and stakeholders can continue to meet virtually through an engaging and enlightening experience. To listen to the meeting recording, visit: https://tinyurl.com/tnugghr. For more information about our 2020 convention, visit: https://acbconvention.org/.
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 are moving 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 start, we are providing you with two recordings of Zoom sessions from past ACB events. The first recording provides basic tips for hosting and participating in a Zoom meeting and can be accessed by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/wm348ts. The second recording provides troubleshooting tips and discussion related to setting up Zoom to host a meeting, and can be accessed by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/tkwcxt4.
We wish you all health and safety during this difficult time.
General COVID-19 Resources:
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To send a message to the group, email email@example.com.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: