Throughout the US and Canada more than 1,400 participants completed the Access and Engagement 1 Survey? This survey examined the impact of COVID-19 on the education of students with visual impairments, their families, teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs), and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists.
What did we learn from the survey conducted this past spring?
• 13% of students did not receive educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic, 61% attended school online, and 43% of students attending online had difficulty or were unable to access online programs because of their visual impairment
• Students had tools at school they did not have access to at home: 17% did not have a tablet, 21% did not have a laptop, 18% did not have a Perkins brailler, 55% did not have large print books, 50% did not have screen reading software, and 28% did not have recreational braille books
• 75% of family members were concerned about their child’s progress after schools shifted to remote learning
• 81% of professionals were given less than one week to prepare for the shift to online or remote education due to the COVID-19 pandemic
• 52% of professionals had at least one family they were not able to reach after the shift to remote learning
Where do we go from here?
The Access Engagement Survey 1 report highlights the challenges experienced in education in late spring 2020 as the shift was made from education in school buildings to remote education, or in some cases no education. To further help us, and the other 20+ organizations involved in this survey, address accessibility issues involved with remote learning, determine what additional services may be needed, and to advocate for change, we need to understand the successes, challenges, and concerns of family members, TVIs, and O&M specialists now during the 2020-2021 school year.
Let your voice be heard!
Are you a family member, guardian, teacher, or O&M instructor for a child with a visual impairment? Complete the Access and Engagement 2: Survey to Examine the Education of Students with Visual Impairments during COVID-19 before November 22, 2020.