COVID-19 and the ADA: Guidance for Park and Recreation Agencies

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way recreation programs are delivered and park assets are used by the public. Terms like PPE, positivity rate, and asymptomatic have barged into the language used to plan programs, staff facilities, and maintain parks and facilities. Complicating how to approach this issue is the hands-off approach by the federal government, leaving it to the states to interpret guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and develop an approach that works. As a result, Oregon does it differently than New Jersey, and Texas does it differently than Illinois. There has been one constant: The requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are not overruled by any coronavirus restrictions adopted by a state, county or city. This session reviews CDC guidance, known ADA requirements for recreation programs, and applies these to four case studies. Attendees will leave with a toolkit to address the ADA/COVID-19 interface.

Learning Objectives
Following this session, learners will be able to:

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John McGovern (he/him)

Partner, Principal in Charge

The WT Group, LLC Accessibility Practice

John N. McGovern leads the Accessibility Practice at The W-T Group, LLC (WTG)WTG is an MBE that is the NRPA preferred provider of accessibility consulting to NRPA membersHe began his parks and recreation career in Albuquerque, starting as a center director and eventually starting the Therapeutic Recreation ProgramHe then moved to Illinois to helm two of the local government partnerships that provide services for people with disabilitiesAlways interested in civil rights, he went to law school at night while working in parks and recreation and is one of the foremost authorities on the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities ActHis ADA work is sharpened by his career parks and recreation experience, his own disability, and his service on behalf of NRPA on the three federal advisory committees that developed the parks content of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.   

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