Remote learning for students with disabilities, a welcomed approach to accessible post-secondary education

  • March 29, 2021
  • Anoop Kalsi

A recent article by the CBC explored the impact of remote learning on students with disabilities (link). The COVID-19 pandemic forced school boards, colleges, and universities to adapt to and implement remote learning options for all students. Post-secondary students had access to their classes through video platforms and/or pre-recorded lectures.

The remote learning options brought on by the pandemic have brought relief to some students with disabilities. As the CBC article outlines, one student, Alicia-Ann Pauld, felt that she no longer had to choose between her health and her education. Pre-pandemic, she had difficulties traveling to her University campus during the winter due to her disabilities. Students with disabilities often felt compelled to miss classes, and sometimes drop courses, ultimately hurting and/or prolonging their academic success.

Remote learning has helped to eliminate some of the difficulties that students with disabilities often face. For example, students with disabilities now have access to a greater variety of courses available through remote learning that wouldn’t necessarily have been available pre-pandemic. As a result, remote learning has enabled students to obtain greater and more equal access to their education as their non-disabled classmates.

As the pandemic progresses, regions are beginning to slowly lift restrictions. This means that more secondary and post-secondary schools are preparing to return students to some form of in-person classes.

More recently, the Ontario government is considering legislation that would make online education a permanent aspect of the public school system. This would give parents the option of enrolling their children in online learning, even after the pandemic has ended. The government would also consider requiring school boards to provide online learning during snow days and other emergency school closures, where students would otherwise be inside the classroom. You can read more about this here (link). However, if/how remote learning continues in the wake of COVID is yet to be seen.

Bakerlaw provides legal representation to students who require educational accommodation for their disability-related needs. To learn more about what we do, click here (link). If you require accommodation at school, and require assistance, please contact us (link) to see how we may be able to assist you.

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