Updated: May 17, 2020
This article originally appeared in Disability Scoop on May 15, 2020 by Shaun Heasley
Vocational rehabilitation agencies can continue to serve individuals with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, though some adjustments may be needed, federal officials say.
In a question-and-answer document released this week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration is offering up details on how agencies can tweak their procedures given the need for social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“Telephone, online or other alternative means may be used in place of providing VR and supported employment services face-to-face, including ongoing support services, during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the 10-page document, which officials said is designed to address questions from vocational rehabilitation agencies. “(The Rehabilitation Services Administration) strongly encourages VR agencies to use remote or virtual service delivery strategies when physical offices are closed to ensure the continuity of service delivery to individuals with disabilities.”
Services that can be provided remotely include job coaching, follow-along and the assessment of employment stability, among others, the guidance indicates. Vocational rehabilitation agencies and provider