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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Justice Department Signs Agreement with Schuylkill County, Pa., to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

The Justice Department today announced an agreement with Schuylkill County, Pa., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

“All individuals have a civil right to equal access to civic facilities, programs and services, and the ADA guarantees that right for individuals with disabilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.

 

PCA ensures that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life, a fundamental part of American society.   As part of PCA, the Justice Department surveys state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country to identify the modifications needed to comply with the ADA requirements.   The agreements address the steps each community must take to improve access.

 

Under the agreement announced today, Schuylkill County will take important steps to improve access for individuals with disabilities, including:

  • Making physical modifications to facilities so that parking, routes into buildings, entrances, service areas and counters, restrooms, public telephones and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Surveying other facilities and programs and making modifications wherever necessary to achieve full compliance with ADA requirements;
  • Posting, publishing and distributing a notice of the ADA’s requirements and their applicability to the county’s programs, services and activities;
  • Training county staff in using the Pennsylvania Relay Service as a key means of communicating with individuals who are deaf, are hard-of-hearing or have speech disabilities;
  • Undertaking the required planning and modifications to ensure equal, integrated access to emergency management for individuals with disabilities, including emergency preparedness, notification, evacuation, sheltering, response, clean up, and recovery;
  • Ensuring that the county’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Developing a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the county’s accessible services, activities and programs;
  • Installing signs at any inaccessible entrance to a facility directing individuals with disabilities to an accessible entrance or to information about accessing programs and services at other accessible facilities; and
  • Implementing a comprehensive plan to improve the accessibility of sidewalks, transportation stops, and pedestrian crossings by installing accessible curb ramps throughout Schuylkill County.

Today’s agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments.   The agreement will remain in effect for three years.   The department will monitor compliance with the agreement until the required actions have been completed.

 

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with Schuylkill County, the PCA initiative or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for state and local governments can access the ADA webpage at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).

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