Web Content and Functionality Specifications
If a person with a disability experiences inaccessible online content related to a Columbus City Schools' program, benefit or service, the person should contact the Office of Customer Relations at 614-365-8888 or via email in order to obtain the content in an accessible format. The individual may also file a formal complaint utilizing the procedures set out in Board Policies 2260 and 2260.01 relating to Section 504 and Title II.
Board Policy 7540 applies to all web content hosted on the Board's servers or District-affiliated servers, or provided through the District's web pages/sites, whether created by District employees, students, or contracted third parties. The Superintendent retains final editorial authority over all content placed on or linked to the Board's servers or District-affiliated servers and displayed on the Board's website(s). The Superintendent has the right to remove pages or links from any web page based upon his/her determination of inappropriate content. The Communications Department is charged with implementing these guidelines.
The District's website(s) serve(s) as instructional, communication, and public relations tools. The web pages aim to providetimely, supportive and educational information to the students, parents, staff and CCS community. The website(s) are created in order to facilitate access to a wide variety of rich media and educational resources that directly support student achievement, professional development, and organizational effectiveness.
The District’s website(s) operate(s) in compliance with Federal and State law. As such, the District is committed to providing individuals with disabilities with an opportunity equal to that of persons without disabilities to participate in the District’s programs, benefits, and services, including those delivered through electronic and information technology, except where doing so would impose an undue burden or create a fundamental alteration. To this end, the Public Information Officer is charged with verifying the District’s website(s) allow(s) persons with disabilities to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same benefits and services within the same timeframe as persons without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use, not be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination in any District programs, services, and activities delivered online, as required by Federal and State law, and receive effective communication with District programs, services, and activities delivered online.
The District measures the accessibility of online content and functionality according to the World Wide Web Consortiums (W3C’s) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA and the Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) 1.0 for web content (Benchmarks for Measuring Accessibility).
All new, newly-added and modified web content and functionality must be accessible to individuals with disabilities, except where doing so would impose a fundamental alteration or undue burden. This provision also applies to the District’s online content and functionality developed by, maintained by, or offered through a third-party vendor or through the use of open sources when the content pertains to the District's programs, benefits and/or services. The Public Information Officer will vet online content available on the District's web pages/sites that is related to the District's programs, benefits and/or services to verify compliance with the requirements of this paragraph.
Nothing in the preceding paragraph, however, shall prevent the District from including links on the District’s web pages/sites to recognized news/media outlets (e.g., local newspapers’ websites, local television stations’ websites) or web pages/sites that are developed and hosted by outside vendors or organizations that are not part of the District’s program, benefits, or services.
When the fundamental alteration or undue burden defense applies, the District will provide equally effective alternate access. In providing an equally effective alternate access, the District will take any actions that do not result in a fundamental alteration or undue financial and administrative burden, but nevertheless provide that, to the maximum extent possible, individuals with disabilities receive the same benefits or services as their nondisabled peers. That said, alternatives are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for persons with and without disabilities, but must afford persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person’s need.
Only the Superintendent, after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the service, program, or activity, may determine an undue burden or fundamental alternation defense is applicable. In making such a determination, the Superintendent will document, in writing, the reasons s/he reached that conclusion.
Students, employees, guests and visitors can report violations of the technical standards or any accessibility concerns to the Public Information Officer. The District’s website will include on its home page and throughout the website (including all subordinate pages and sites), a Notice to persons with disabilities regarding how to request the webmaster or other appropriate person to provide access to (or notify the District regarding) content or functionality that is currently inaccessible. The Notice will also include information or an accessible link to information instructing individuals with disabilities how to file more formal complaints under Section 504 and/or the ADA.
The Public Information Officer will establish a system to audit/test the accessibility of the District's online content and measure it against the technical standards adopted above. The audit will occur at least annually. This system must include processes to verify claims of accessibility by third-party vendors or open sources. The purpose of the audit is to identify any web content or functionality that is inaccessible to persons with disabilities. The person/entity who conducts the audit shall report to the Superintendent the results of the audit. If problems are identified, they will be documented, evaluated, and, if necessary, remediated within a reasonable period. The audit shall include the District’s home page, all subordinate pages, and School intranet pages and sites. The person/entity conducting the audit may seek input from members of the public with disabilities, including parents, students, employees, and others associated with the District, and other persons knowledgeable about website accessibility, regarding the accessibility of the District’s web content and functionality. The District will annually provide website accessibility training to all appropriate personnel, including, but not limited to: content developers, webmasters, procurement officials, and all others responsible for developing, loading, maintaining, or auditing web content and functionality. The training will include information concerning this guideline and the employees' respective roles and responsibilities associated with verifying that web design, documents and multimedia content are accessible. The training will be facilitated by individual(s) with sufficient knowledge, skill, and experience to understand and employ the technical standards identified above. The District will maintain documentation of the training it delivers, including a list of attendees and their positions, a description of the delivered training content, and the presenter/trainer’s credentials for providing such training.
Individuals responsible for designing, developing and producing web content are expected to employ universal design principles to create web pages and sites that allow persons with the disabilities identified at the end of this document to access the information and content on the District's website. By following the web content design criteria set forth below, the designers and authors of the District's website(s) can improve the opportunities for persons with disabilities to access the information and content contained on the web pages that make up the District's website(s).
Under no circumstances may a web page hosted on the Board's servers be used for commercial purposes, advertising, political lobbying, or to provide financial gains for any individual. Included in this prohibition is the fact no web pages contained on the District's website may:
- include statements or other items that support or oppose a candidate for public office; the investigation, prosecution, or recall of a public official; or passage of a tax levy or bond issue;
- link to a website of another organization if the other website includes such a message; or
- communicate information that supports or opposes any labor organization or any action by, on behalf of, or against any labor organization;
- include defamatory, libelous, or obscene matter;
- promote alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or other tobacco products, or any illegal product, service, or activity;
- promote illegal discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or ancestry. Additionally, no web pages may contain obscene, profane, vulgar, sexually explicit, defamatory, harassing or abusive language, or be utilized to intimidate or bully another person.
Content for the District's Website(s)
All subject matter on web pages must relate to curriculum, instruction, school-authorized activities, general information, supporting student safety, growth and learning, or public information of interest to community members.
Before releasing or publishing a website/page, staff shall conduct a website/page evaluation to assess the following criteria: age appropriateness (appealing and readable); content (relevant, accurate, complete, objective, current, clear and concise, informative, appropriate, links working); intellectual property issues (sources cited; sponsoring organization identified [i.e. class, school, activity]; releases obtained); format (accessible, navigation, searchable, functional/useable, download speed, pages dated as to creation/updated).
Links to the following disclaimers shall be utilized as appropriate on the District's Web pages:
- Links: "The links in this area will let you leave the District's website(s). The linked sites are not under the control of the District and the District is not responsible for the contents of any linked sites, or any links contained in a linked site, or any changes or updates to such sites. The District is providing these links to you only as a convenience and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the site by the District."
- Student Developed Web Pages: "All web pages created by students and student organizations on the District's computer system will be subject to treatment as School-sponsored publications. As such, the District reserves the right to exercise
editorial control over such publications in accordance with Policy 5722 - School-Sponsored Student Publications and Productions."
- Domain Name and Copyright: "The District has registered its domain name(s) for the purpose of exclusive Internet identification. The District asserts copyright, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights in its domain name, district
identification, district logo, and all content on the District's website(s). All rights are reserved. Outside parties, including parents, patrons, or outside organizations may not use District and/or school domain names in connection with the publication of web content. Under no circumstances shall any party use District and/or school domain names to promote political issues, causes or candidates."
- General Disclaimer: "Information provided on the website carries no express or implied warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, or appropriateness for a particular purpose; in addition, the Board disclaims owner responsibility for content errors, omissions or infringing material, and disclaims owner liability for damages associated with user reliance on information provided at the site."
- Events: "Visitors rely on information on the website at their own risk. Times and dates are subject to change and spectators or audiences are strongly encouraged to contact the school for the most recent schedule."
Examples of Disabilities and How they Affect People's Abilities to Perceive and Use Websites/Pages.
Blindness - People with no sight typically browse the Internet using voice-output software or refreshable Braille hardware. Such devices "read" what is on the screen to the user.
Low vision - Individuals who have limited vision may use screen-enlarging software.
Color blindness - To perceive color differences on a computer monitor, individuals with color blindness need high contrast. Also, designers/developers/authors should be mindful of the forms of color blindness when choosing color schemes. Typical color blindness involves the inability to distinguish between red and green, blue and green, or blue and yellow; some people see black and white only.
Deafness - People who cannot hear, experience a website/page only through its text, graphics/images and video.
Hard of hearing - Individuals with limited hearing may use sound-enhancing peripherals.
People with physical disabilities or limited fine motor skills may have difficulty with the following computer-related tasks:
- Detailed manipulation of input devices such as a mouse or roller ball.
- Holding down multiple keyboard keys simultaneously.
Typical problems for people who have cognitive disabilities or disabilities that affect their language skills include the following:
- Difficulty with spatial reasoning and/or visualization skills.
- Difficulty reading and/or understanding written text (e.g. persons with dyslexia).
Persons wanting to learn more about web accessibility standards and guidelines should consult the following Internet sources:
The Access Board (www.access-board.gov) - Federal agency dedicated to accessible design.
World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3.org) - organization developed "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0" and the "Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) 1.0." © Neola 2019