/ Modified sep 11, 2020 5:15 p.m.

Pandemic through disability services, legal protections and education

Plus, how false positives and vigilant masking depict the evolution of COVID-19 science.


The Tucson Jewish Community Center has been a hub for child care, political debates and recreation over the years. President and CEO Todd Rockoff said though the J had to close from mid-March to June 1, they tried to keep a link to the community through virtual classes. It has lost approximately $800,000 a month during its closure. Rockoff said its day program for adults with disabilities, Taglit, is now almost half of what it was, but he said he's happy the J is still providing job training and social interaction for those who need it.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. J.J. Rico, the executive director of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, described how the pandemic and the act have impact the lives of people with disabilities.

For students with disabilities, virtual learning has had its struggles and successes. Danyelle Khmara, the education reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, spoke with Lorraine Rivera about her reporting and how meeting state and Pima County benchmarks leads to schools turning to hybrid learning at different times.

Tony Paniagua spoke to Adult Loss of Hearing Association Treasurer Stan Kruggel, who has some hearing loss and a cochlear implant, about the struggles of hearing and communicating while everyone is wearing masks to stifle the spread of COVID-19. Terri Rice, office manager at ALOHA, said she's trying to help by sewing masks with a clear panel to help those with hearing loss read the lips of the mask wearer.

The Direct Center for Independence is another nonprofit that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. Zach Coble is a volunteer with DIRECT, and he said the pandemic has highlighted how people dependent on federal dollars to make ends meet don't have the flex in their budgets to pay for services that promote social distancing.

Lorraine Rivera spoke with Felicia Goodrum, an associate professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona, about the evolving understanding of COVID-19 through false positives and mask-wearing.

"I think people always think scientists are changing their minds, but it's really we're just learning, and this is actually part of the process," Goodrum said.

Arizona 360
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