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Achieving Accessibility for All Students: School Accessibility K-12

Featured image for blog article: Achieving Accessibility for All Students: School Accessibility K-12

Just as children require different curriculum for different age levels, they also require different access solutions.

As a child ages not only does their day-to-day routine change, but their mobility equipment needs change, as well. For example, a child with muscular dystrophy may start using a motorized scooter as they need assistance throughout the day and will eventually require a power wheelchair full-time. Let EZ-ACCESS help equip your school with access solutions that work for the property and for the students.

Necessary for All Grades

No matter how old the students are, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2010 has classified schools as public properties that must abide by this federal law. According to this act, every individual should have the ability to "arrive on-site, approach the building, and enter as freely as everyone else." The standard for this is that 60% of public entrances in newly constructed (built after 2010) facilities are required to be accessible. Existing facilities are required to have 50% of public entrances accessible. There also needs to be the same number of accessible exits as there are entrances.

The best option for the building entrances and exits would be an ADA-compliant ramp made from aluminum. We recommend aluminum ramps for the main entrances to school or university buildings, as these permanent access solutions need to be durable enough to outlast bad weather and high-traffic volume year after year. Many educational buildings have a set of existing concrete stairs leading up to the entrance without a wheelchair accessible option. Instead of spending time and resources on expensive demolition and reconstruction, an aluminum ramp can easily be installed over the steps.

collage of a few different TITAN configurations

In addition to a ramp at the main entrance, many schools also require accessible entrances for portable classrooms. With the elevated entrances of portable classrooms, a means of access is necessary to enter and exit the modular building. Access into these classrooms must be code compliant, which is why aluminum ramps are an ideal solution for this application.

Three common configurations that we see deployed are:

  • TITAN™ Code Compliant Modular Access System Straight Ramp with Platform at the door Product Image
    A straight ramp with a platform at the door

    This is our most standard configuration that works for a majority of building entrances and portable classrooms.

  • TITAN™ Code Compliant Modular Access System with a platform at the door, ramp on one side and stairs on the other product image
    A platform at the door with a straight ramp on one side and a set of stairs on the other

    Adding a set of stairs to the other side allows for dual entry/exit points, which can be beneficial when traffic in and out of the structure is substantial.

  • TITAN™ Code Compliant Modular Access System ramp system that includes a switch back Product Image
    A longer ramp system that includes a switch back

    This type of configuration is helpful when the height of the entrance is great but the space for a ramp is slim. This is a compact, space-saver.

Kindergarten Through 6th Grade

Can you remember sitting in class and counting down the minutes until recess?

That is exactly why it’s important to have a commercial-grade wheelchair ramp that has direct access to the playground. Enjoying the fresh air and playing with friends is an essential part of school for any student. At recess, children learn to cooperate, follow, and lead games with one another. Offering a ramp at the same entrance, or right next to it, is a big way schools can offer an inclusive environment.

TITAN ramp solution with picketed guards for added safety

Children are also smaller in stature than the average teenager, and therefore require extra accommodations to stay safe. With every commercial-grade ramp on school property, there should also be lower hand rails so children of all heights and abilities can reach the railing.

The table below is specified in section 308.1 of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Schools and other facilities where children have open access should ensure that handrails, hooks, lockers, etc. are well within reach according to the age range of children utilizing the structure.

Children's Reach Ranges

Forward or Side Reach Ages 3 and 4 Ages 5 through 8 Ages 9 through 12
High (maximum) 36 in (915 mm) 40 in (1015 mm) 44 in (1120 mm)
Low (minimum) 20 in (510 mm) 18 in (455 mm) 16 in (405 mm)

Our standard handrails are 36” high and we have an optional child rail that can be added to the ramp system, which is conveniently 25” high in order to help those little ones move up and down the system. The TITAN™ is our commercial-grade, school accessibility ramp that accommodates children of all abilities and is a safe solution when ADA access is needed.

Middle School and High School

At this age, students don’t have recess, but they do have an opportunity to cheer on their school’s team! Many middle schools, and most high schools, have an outdoor stadium to accommodate fall and spring sports. And with this stadium comes the necessity to ensure ADA compliance.

ADA guidelines require at least 50% of the entrances to the stadium must be wheelchair accessible. You can quickly and easily make these spaces accessible by adding ramps. From arenas to stadiums, all students, faculty, and fans should be able to show off their school spirit! By adding a TITAN™ Code Compliant Modular Access System, you can ensure that everyone has a safe way to enter and exit your school's sporting events. If your stadium attracts many families to each event, the lower child handrail is a great addition for even wider spread inclusion.

At this age level, schools also hold graduation ceremonies for the entire community to enjoy. By connecting several of our modular platforms together, you can create a custom-sized graduation stage suitable for your school. Simply add a ramp to each end of the stage to make it fully accessible. If you have an existing stage and are in need of ramps or steps that allow students and faculty to easily access the stage, we have solutions that can seamlessly be added on to your existing structure.

If you have additional questions about finding the right commercial-grade ramp configuration, please don’t hesitate to call us!

We will connect you with one of our school accessibility experts to ensure your property meets ADA requirements to keep students of all abilities safe.

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