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Committee Approves 5-Year School Accessibility Plan

NOVEMBER 08, 2021

The local public school board is one step closer to approving a new five-year accessibility plan.

The plan describes the measures that Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board has taken in the past and the measures that will be taken during the 2021-2026 school years to identify, remove and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities who work in, use or attend school board facilities and services.

The board has undertaken $1.4-million in renovations to accommodate accessibility needs within its schools in 2020-2021 with more in the queue, the board’s accessibility advisory committee said in its plan presented to the committee of the whole on Monday night.

School Board Trustee Lisa Anne Chatten commended the accessibility advisory committee for its work on the plan.

“It’s not just physical needs,” she said. “It’s improved training for self-advocacy and bullying. It’s amazing.”

Some of the infrastructure upgrades include: addressing access for students with disabilities through ongoing modification and accommodation of programs and services; automatic door openers; wider exterior doors to allow wheelchair access; elevators installed in most secondary schools with multiple stories; ramps for school front and rear access points, accessible washrooms, audio and visual emergency alarm systems, and tactile and high contrast signage.

Attitudinal barriers for persons with disabilities are being addressed through staff and student in-service about diversity, inclusive schools, re-writing diversity policy/procedures and examining other policies and procedures for barriers to accessibility.

Architectural features that incorporate principles of universal design have been incorporated into new building design and construction.

As well, recent renovations to existing buildings have accessibility for persons with disabilities addressed in the plans.

Requests to add closed captioning options in the videos the board distributes to students and families are also being considered for approval.

The board will be asked to approve the plan at its next meeting.

The plan can be read by following the link below.

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