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Highlights from the 2020-21 Accessibility Report

November 24, 2021

At the November Program Committee meeting of the Upper Grand District School Board, staff presented the 2020-21 Annual Accessibility Report. The 2020-21 Annual Accessibility Report highlights the work accomplished throughout the school year, despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

The UGDSB remains committed to working to exemplify and advance the four principles of accessibility: dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity. The UGDSB is advancing these principles by identifying, removing and preventing barriers for the 35,000+ students, 4,000+ staff and community members it serves in 65 elementary schools, 11 secondary schools and two remote learning programs.

The report supports and reflects all the objectives of the UGDSB’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and highlights measures the board has taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities in the areas of training, education, building an accessible culture and leadership, procurement, information and communication, employment, transportation, the built environment and outdoor play spaces.

For highlights from the board’s work in accessibility in the 2020-21 school year, please keep reading below.


The board’s Curriculum, Special Education, Equity and Mental Health teams continued to partner with accessibility in order to meet the needs of students. This year work included:

Terry James Resource Centre

Throughout COVID-19, the Terry James Resource Centre (TJRC) continued to be the hub for accessible resources and support. TJRC staff’s work was multifaceted and covered many areas.

Since the beginning of September 2020, TJRC completed 3D printing projects for various departments to support accessibility and learning. Projects included:

The high demand for online resources and eBooks continued throughout the year. The TJRC added approximately 2,500 eBooks and digital audiobooks to Sora, their main eBook platform in 2020-2021.

Additional streaming videos with closed captioning were also added to the Learn360 platform based on educator requests and gaps identified by the TJRC staff. The TJRC added or extended licenses for 40 videos this year. The demand for resources to support English language learners continued to be identified as a need across the board and the TJRC staff will be investigating available options in this area in the coming school year.


The Purchasing Department worked collaboratively with other departments within the board to ensure that accessibility design, criteria and features were considered when procuring or otherwise acquiring goods or services. To assist in meeting the accessibility goals across the system, the following work was completed in 2020-21:

The Purchasing Department continues to provide an essential service to all departments within the UGDSB, and is an advocate of the four accessibility principles.

Information and Communication

A review of all accessibility features for all updates and purchases related to board and school websites in anticipation of WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards was also completed in the 2020-21 school year. The AODA scanning tool and manual testing will continue to be used on board and school websites to ensure compliance with content and materials and to identify any areas for improvement.

Since 2019, the board has seen a tremendous shift in school communications. All UGDSB schools are now using School Messenger, an accessible communication tool that shares information with families. Monthly school newsletters have been replaced by daily and/or weekly updates, providing content that is accessible to all groups in the UGDSB community.

The above information is just a few of the many highlights in accessibility in the 2020-21 school year. To read the full report, visit

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