Digital Accessibility Project Guide for Schools: Compliance with New ADA Title II Web Rule

In April 2024, the Department of Justice published a new web accessibility rule under Title II of the ADA that requires WCAG 2.1 AA conformance for websites, web content, and documents. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act covers state and local governments which web includes public educational institutions and learning centers and programs.

This guide will help you understand the new ADA Title II digital accessibility requirements, including conformance with WCAG 2.1 AA standards.

Who Must Comply?

Public educational entities including learning services, programs, and activities must comply with Title II of the ADA. Here are some examples of places of learning covered:

  • Public schools and universities
  • Community and technical colleges
  • School districts and educational programs
  • Vocational, charter, and state schools
  • Special and adult education programs
  • Public charter schools

Private contractors offering educational services or programs who are working with public schools must also comply with Title II.

WCAG 2.1 AA Standard

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA are technical standards for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Conformance with WCAG 2.1 AA means ensuring that your website or web content meets 50 success criteria.

Documents and mobile apps must also meet WCAG 2.1 AA but because WCAG is for the web, the principles more so than the exact success criteria are applied.

These principles are often summarized by the acronym POUR, which stands for Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. Following these principles ensures that content is accessible.

Compliance Deadlines

Public schools have either two or three years to make all of their digital assets and content accessible. The date is determined by population.

This table shows how much time a state or local government has to comply with this rule.
State and local government size Compliance date
0 to 49,999 persons April 26, 2027
Special district governments April 26, 2027
50,000 or more persons April 24, 2026

Note that a school district is not a special district government. If it is a city school district, it would use the population of the city to know when to comply. If it is a county school district, it would use the population of the county. If it is an independent school district, it would use the population estimate in the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates.

School Digital Assets and Content

Relative to other public entities like state parks and city policy departments, schools have many more digital experiences to be concerned with – and not just their own websites, but the third-party platforms they rely upon and integrate into their learning systems.

  • Digital Content Requirements: Essential aspects include accessible educational platforms and digital resources such as e-books, online courses, and educational software.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): Schools need to ensure that systems such as Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle are fully accessible.
  • Administrative Interfaces: Websites for student registration, course selection, and access to grades must also comply.
  • Public-facing websites: The general websites for schools, school districts, learning centers, colleges, etc. also need to be WCAG 2.1 AA conformant.

Somewhat ironically, schools may face more difficulty in ensuring WCAG 2.1 AA conformance with the third-party products because, to a large extent, they can’t control how proactive and vigilant they are. This is why it’s so important to get started early.

Content Exceptions

The good news is there are are exceptions to some types of content under the new ADA Title II rule:

  • Archived Web Content
  • Pre-existing Electronic Documents
  • Content Posted by Independent Third Parties
  • Individualized Password-Protected Documents
  • Preexisting Social Media Posts

These exceptions will save schools hundreds of hours of time and thousands if not millions of dollars in costs. Read the full details on ADA Title II content exceptions.

Starting ADA Title II Compliance Now

With an impending deadline of two to three years for ADA Title II compliance, schools need to begin compliance work now. WCAG 2.1 AA conformance for just a website can conservatively take six months.

Where to Start for Schools

To meet the compliance deadline, educational institutions should take the following steps.

Take Inventory

Conduct a thorough assessment of all digital assets, including websites, mobile apps, and all forms of digital content to ensure a clear understanding of the scope of accessibility needs. Write everything down in a spreadsheet.

Procurement Practices

At least one school employee or contractor should begin working through and evaluating all of the third-party products that are outside of the schools control. Your school may want to hire an ADA website compliance consultant to help manage this task.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) Oversight

Schools usually rely upon a Learning Management System or LMS platform for their classes and course structure. It is critical that the LMS be WCAG 2.1 AA conformant. Here are four actions that can help ensure the LMS platform is accessible.

  • Ask the LMS platform provider about a VPAT or ACR (the technically correct term for a completed VPAT).
  • Require an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) for the LMS to ensure comprehensive coverage of all features.
  • Verify the issuer of the ACR and the currency and completeness of the document.
  • Conduct preliminary accessibility tests, such as user testing, keyboard testing, and visual inspection. Just hiring an hourly consultant can be a cost-effective means of insuring against major accessibility issues..

Accessibility of Learning Content

Beyond the websites and platforms used, it’s critical that all content – text, images, video, audio, and documents – is WCAG 2.1 AA conformant as well. Here are is a quick content accessibility checklist to go through:

  • alt text for images
  • text not embedded inside images
  • closed captions for videos
  • live captions for live broadcasts
  • audio descriptions for videos
  • text transcript for audio
  • sufficient color contrast
  • not relying upon color to convey information
  • PDFs are tagged appropriately

Teacher and Instructor Training

Teachers must take training on WCAG 2.1 AA to ensure that they create content accessibly and don’t introduce accessibility issues. The WCAG Course at has the accessibility training your teachers, instructors, employees, and staff needs.


Compliance with the new web accessibility rule is going to take time – especially because education largely takes place through digital experiences – so it’s crucial that your school get started now. By starting now, you can move forward and a brisk but comfortable speed. If you wait, you will not meet your compliance deadline.

I highly recommend you start just by learning WCAG 2.1 AA. Once you are familiar with WCAG 2.1 AA and imagine working through all 50 success criteria for all of your digital assets and content, you’ll soon realize how big your project is.

Services and Support

For consulting on your ADA Title II compliance project as well as audit, remediation, and user testing services, contact me and we can ensure you start strong and are compliant ahead of your school’s deadline.

Visit to learn more about my work in ADA website compliance. I am an attorney and the author of The ADA Book (available on Amazon) and have helped hundreds of clients in following best practices for ADA compliance.