AFB staff and AccessWorld contributors are pulling together resources to provide support to our readers during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. These posts will address topics such as online learning for students and adults, accessible medical devices, accessible work-from-home solutions, accessible social gaming, staying connected with others digitally, keeping technology and workspaces sanitary, home fitness resources, and more.

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join the first AFB Town Hall on the impact of COVID-19 on access to healthcare, transportation, and voting for Americans who are blind or have low vision. A complete archive will be available soon, for anyone who missed the live conversation. As promised, here are some of the resources shared by the presenter and attendees:

In this special edition of AFB's Inform & Connect podcast, Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum discussed the Flatten Inaccessibility research report, the culmination of survey findings from 1,921 U.S. participants who are blind (65%) or have low vision (35%).

The Flatten Inaccessibility report examined the impact of COVID-19 on 1,921 adults with visual impairments and the Access and Engagement survey examined the impact of COVID-19 on the education of 455 children and 1,028 teachers of students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility specialists.

Flatten Inaccessibility report cover - dark blue background with white text and a montage of photos. Research report September 2020, Impact of COVID-19 on Blind and Visually Impaired Adults in the United StatesAFB is immensely proud to release the report on the findings of the Flatten Inaccessibility Study.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation several months ago, staying on top of the news can be a daunting task. One of AFB’s main goals is to keep people who are blind or who have low vision and their families up to date on the policy issues that affect us all. With this in mind, here are a few recent news stories we found particularly interesting.

The American Foundation for the Blind occasionally recruits student researchers to assist with our research activities such as literature reviews, data analysis, and report writing as part of our commitment to evidence-based advocacy. This summer, AFB has worked with a group of four on various projects. These volunteers are either in a doctoral program or giving serious consideration to applying. Through their universities, some are receiving credit for their volunteer work.

Photo of Kirk Adams

In his June 30 HR Dive op-ed “'A moment of inclusion': Will the post-pandemic workplace be more friendly to people with disabilities?” AFB’s president and CEO suggests that the work-from-home experience millions of Americans have faced in response to the novel coronavirus might lead to a more inclusive and accessible workplace – whether that be at office or home.

The American Foundation for the Blind's Public Policy and Research Institute, working in coalition with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, wrote to the National Governors Association to express the needs of public transportation users with disabilities as states across the country implement reopening policies.

Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on returning to K-12 schools safely. Considering that students with disabilities are often left out of the conversation, it was exciting to hear that they were considered in multiple lines of questioning presented by the witnesses and the Senators themselves. From the witnesses, we learned that educators are deeply concerned about the digital divide, the health and safety of students and educators, and delivering high quality academics while making up for lost learning.