Education: Disabled Learners and COVID-19 school closures

The Learners with Disabilities and COVID-19 School Closures Survey is being conducted by the Inclusive Education Initiative’s Disability-Inclusive Education Community of Practice and Knowledge Hub. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, schools are closed nation-wide in 192 countries and sub-nationally in many others, leaving an estimated 1.58 billion children out of school. These school closures put children with disabilities at an even greater risk of being left behind, but also serve as an opportunity to re-think how emergency educational plans can better include children with disabilities.

The purpose of the survey is to understand if learners with disabilities and their families have access to the supports they need to continue learning while schools are closed due to COVID-19. Data collected from this survey will help us to better understand what children with disabilities do and do not have access to around the world. We hope to use the information we collect from this survey to ensure that solutions are, in fact, allowing children to continue learning during this health crisis.

This short, 10-15-minute survey is meant for parents/caregivers of children with disabilities, teachers of children with disabilities, and persons with disabilities/DPOs.
Your responses will remain strictly anonymous. All questions are voluntary, and you may skip any questions you do not want to answer.If you have any questions, please reach out to the Inclusive Education Initiative at

Take part in the survey here

Proposed General Statement of IEWG/GLAD for COVID19 Crisis Response

[Draft April 21, 2020]
The GLAD network’s Inclusive Education Working Group cautions against growing inequity in education due to the COVID19 pandemic especially affecting persons with disabilities. Intersectionality with poverty, gender, ethnicity or other identities can result in multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion. We recommend that the urgent need to support learners with disabilities in all education levels from early childhood education to tertiary levels be addressed and that the immediate, mid- and longer term actions are considered. The IEWG Infographic  depicting key messages and considerations for  inclusive education  is available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian, and along with the below 5 principles can support in these efforts: 
• Seize the opportunity to include all learners, inclusive of learners with disabilities, in COVID19 crisis responses through education investments.  Utilize principles of Universal Design for Learning in all education investment programmes and provide reasonable accommodation and individual support for students with disabilities.
• Address the growing number of out of school children and recognise that persons with disabilities in developing countries were more likely to be out of school before the COVID19 crisis. Planning for the provision of equitable access to education and learning for all persons with disabilities must be a critical part of schools’ reopening strategy.
• Support leaders in different levels of education systems from ministries of education to school leaders to facilitate collaboration with line ministries (such as ministries responsible for finances, social protection, health, data collection, transport, water and sanitation, infrastructure etc.) and a variety of relevant stakeholders in the community and private sector supporting inclusive education and building an inclusive society.  
• Support teachers  to implement inclusive pedagogy and use a variety of accessible virtual or broadcasted and printed learning materials for distance learning and contact teaching to support all students to learn now and when schools reopen by utilizing various forms of communication to support all learners, inclusive of learners with disabilities for example with the support of captions, larger print, Braille, sign-language, etc.
• Support families and students with diverse learning needs through individual     support and check-ins during the distance learning and utilize available resource staff, specialists, volunteers or community members with the skill set to support learners with disabilities with particular sensitivity to trauma and effects of COVID19.