If you have any questions regarding ADA requirements in education, contact one of our attorneys at (203) 221-3100.

ADA Requirements for Web Accessibility

On April 24, 2024, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released its long-awaited final regulation concerning the accessibility of websites and mobile apps for state and local governments. This new rule, enforcing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), sets out detailed mandates aimed at ensuring that web content and mobile applications are accessible and functional for individuals with disabilities. These requirements are mandatory for state and local governments, including school districts, and encompass web content and mobile apps provided directly by a public entity or through contractual, licensing, or similar agreements.

Standards

The DOJ has adopted the 2018 edition of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.1[1] as the technical benchmark for web content and mobile app accessibility, which state and local governments must adhere to in order to fulfill their existing obligations under Title II of the ADA. The regulation specifies that public entities must meet the WCAG 2.1 Level AA success criteria and conformance requirements.

State and local governments, including school districts, are required to ensure that their websites, mobile apps, and other materials like digital textbooks conform to these standards, except where compliance would fundamentally alter the nature of the services, programs, or activities provided, or impose an undue administrative or financial burden. Public entities should be mindful that these standards are rigorous.

Exceptions

The final rule outlines five exceptions:

  • Archived content;
  • Preexisting electronic documents, unless they are being used for applying to, accessing, or participating in the entity’s services, programs, or activities;
  • Third party posts on the entity’s website, unless posted under a contractual or similar arrangement with the entity
  • Electronic documents that are each customized and password-protected or secured some other way
  • Preexisting social media posts

If an exception applies, the public entity is not required to adhere to the WCAG technical standards for that content. However, if requested by a specific individual, the public entity may need to provide the web content or content from mobile apps in an accessible format to fulfill its existing obligations under other regulatory provisions implementing Title II of the ADA.

Implementation Timeline

The DOJ acknowledges that smaller public entities may encounter difficulties in meeting the proposed requirements due to resource constraints. Consequently, the compliance deadlines vary based on population size. State and local governments located in counties or cities with a total population of 50,000 or more are required to comply with this rule by April 24, 2026, whereas those in areas with 49,999 or fewer inhabitants must comply by April 24, 2027.

Maya Murphy P.C. has proudly been included in the 2024 Edition of Best Law Firms®, ranked among the top firms in the nation. In addition, Managing Partner Joseph C. Maya has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for his work in Employment Law and Education Law in Connecticut. Recognition in Best Lawyers® is awarded to firms and attorneys who demonstrate excellence in the industry and is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor.

Our firm in Westport, Connecticut serves clients with legal assistance all over the state, including the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Monroe, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Haven, Newton, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Redding, Ridgefield, Seymour, Shelton, Sherman, Southbury, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Woodbridge. In addition to assisting clients in Connecticut, our firm handles education law matters in New York as well.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a legal matter, please contact Joseph C. Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation today.