On January 4, 2022, the Commission granted five waiver requests to allow certain schools to receive full reimbursement through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program for the costs of connected devices necessary to meet the remote learning needs of students and school staff with disabilities. The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program provides reimbursement of up to $400 per connected device for use by students, school staff, or library patrons who would otherwise lack access to this equipment.
The schools granted waivers were: Fresno Unified School District, St. Francis School for the Deaf, Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind, and a private school operated by The Arc New York (formerly known as NYSARC), New York City Chapter, AHRC New York City. These petitioners requested full reimbursement for connected devices with accessibility features that increased device prices, such as compatibility with software providing screen magnification, screen reading functionalities, and captioning services; larger screens; enhanced resolution; and touchscreens for students with significant fine motor skills difficulties.
Schools and libraries may request a waiver of the $400 reasonable support amount if the costs are higher for connected devices that are accessible to and usable by a student, school staff member, or library patron with a disability.
Links to January 4, 2022 Order:
To learn more about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, visit: https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-connectivity-fund. For specific questions, please contact Molly M. O’Conor, Attorney-Advisor, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, at Molly.OConor@fcc.gov. Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).