Texas COVID-19 Coronavirus Resources & Guidance for People with Disabilities
The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) has created this page to act as a hub for information related to the COVID–19 virus and emergency guidance related to people with disabilities. If you believe you or a loved one may be sick, follow the guidance put out by the Department of State Health Service (DSHS). You can also dial 2-1-1 and select option 6.
State Agencies and Councils COVID-19 Pages
- Department of Family and Protective Services
- Department of State Health Services
- Texas Health and Human Services Commission
- Texas Council on Developmental Disabilities
- Texas Department of Emergency Management
- Texas Education Agency
- Texas Workforce Commission
- Commission on State Emergency Communications
- Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
- Vaccine Access Navigators for People with Disabilities
- Easy to read COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
- DSHS Commissioner COVID-19 Vaccine Update in ASL
- CDC COVID-19 guidelines in ASL on YouTube
- Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI) Accessible Resources
- The CDC has reviewed the latest science and published an updated list of certain medical conditions that put people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to include people with disabilities.
- CDC Guidance in Braille upon request;
- Other alternative formats (e.g., for people who access the Internet using screen readers)
Mental Health Support
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) operates a free, 24/7, 365-day-a-year disaster distress helpline. This line provides crisis support and counseling to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Deaf and hard of hearing callers can contact the same number through their videophone to access 24/7 ASL support.
The Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) was created by the Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Office of Court Administration and TDHCA to help eligible tenants stay in their homes and provide landlords with an alternative to eviction. The Texas Judicial Branch administers the eviction diversion program.
Civil Rights Guidance on COVID-19
Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557
Although many people with COVID-19 get better within weeks, some people continue to experience symptoms that can last months after first being infected, or may have new or recurring symptoms at a later time. This can happen to anyone who has had COVID19, even if the initial illness was mild. People with this condition are sometimes called “long-haulers.” This condition is known as “long COVID.” In light of the rise of long COVID as a persistent and significant health issue, the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice have joined together to provide the following guidance:
COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act - updated with information about strategies and medical setting visitor policies.
The ADA and Face Mask Policies
The Great Plains ADA Center has created a frequently asked questions page to help clarify some of the questions surrounding the ADA, mask orders, and disability.
GCPD COVID-19 Webinars
COVID-19 Vaccine and People with Disabilities Q&A
Presented on March 9, 2021
The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) invites you to join us for an important question and answer webinar focusing on COVID-19 vaccines and people with disabilities. Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Department of State Health Service (DSHS), and others will answer your questions on COVID-19 vaccines, eligibility, and how to find vaccine providers in your community.
- DSHS's Answers to Follow-Up Questions in PDF Format
- DSHS's Answers to Follow-Up Questions in Word Format
COVID-19: Considerations for Individuals with Disabilities
Presented on April 1, 2020
Community preparedness planning and response for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, as well as the organizations that support them. The majority of people with disabilities live in the community, and many depend on receiving services and supports in their home in order to maintain their health and independence. This webinar will give an overview of how best to include people with disabilities in emergency preparedness, as well as provide information on resources for people in the community.
- HHSC's Answers to Webinar Questions in Word Format
- HHSC's Answers to Webinar Questions in PDF Format
Tips for Successful Communication with People with Disabilities
- Communication Tips in Word Format
- Communication Tips in PDF Format
- Communication Tips in Spanish in Word Format
- Communication Tips in Spanish in PDF Format
It is imperative emergency management information be made accessible in order to integrate the needs of people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) requires emergency management information to be made accessible in order to integrate the needs of people with disabilities. Accessible information helps support the needs of the whole community, and makes sure no one is left without potentially lifesaving information.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides additional guidance on accessible televised emergency communication. Community situations such as pandemics are considered emergencies. Information about a current emergency that is intended to further the protection of life, health, safety, and property must be provided visually and aurally.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) COVID-19 page provides updates on school closures as well as the continued responsibility to provide education to students with disabilities. As colleges and universities have transitioned to digital learning platforms as part of a campus mitigation plan, GCPD reminds them of their legal responsibility to ensure access to curriculum and instruction for students with disabilities. This includes practical considerations, such as making sure instructional materials are captioned and making use of Video Remote Interpreting and Video Relay Services to provide interpreters in class.
The CDC and Department of Education have provided additional guidance on providing services to students with disabilities during COVID-19.