By Katherine Emerson
Current estimates show that 7.7 to 23 million people in the U.S. have experienced Long COVID or its associated conditions. The CDC defines Long COVID as anyone experiencing ongoing, long-term conditions as a result of having been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Long COVID symptoms can last weeks, months or even years. Furthermore, the symptoms of Long COVID can qualify someone as an individual with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if these symptoms substantially limit one or more major life activities, including employment and education. Youth and young adults with a Long COVID disability may need assistance understanding their disability, understanding their employment and education rights, and navigating systems of support.
As part of our database of State Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is pleased to launch our Long COVID resource page. States have taken a variety of approaches to support youth experiencing a Long COVID disability (as either their first identified disability or in addition to an existing disability). The resource page supports CAPE-Youth’s overall mission to provide state policymakers with policy options, best practices, and implementation strategies to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities (Y&YADs).
The Long COVID resource page offers:
- general information about Long COVID;
- information about Long COVID as a disability;
- potential accommodations for Y&YADs with Long COVID;
- ways to help Y&YADs manage Long COVID;
- state efforts to support Y&YADs with Long COVID; and
- nationally recognized Long COVID resources addressing accessibility, the workplace, and other services and supports.
As states strive to promote workforce inclusion, the over three million young people between the ages of 16 to 24 with disabilities are a key part of the solution. Y&YADs face barriers in transitioning successfully from youth systems into adulthood. These barriers result in lower employment outcomes, educational attainment, and community participation than their peers. The Long COVID resource page discusses how Y&YADs might address those barriers, such as understanding and managing their disability in an educational and workplace setting, their rights and protections in those settings, and accessing appropriate supports.
This web page also assists state leaders by highlighting how states have:
- educated the public about symptoms, causes, and treatment of Long COVID;
- provided support programs and mental health resources to help individuals;
- recognized Long COVID as a potential source of disability under the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act; and
- funded Long COVID support services.
The complete list of information and resources also can be sorted by state and by topic.
Workforce inclusion is a priority for state leaders nationwide. Supporting Y&YADs as they prepare to enter the workforce advances state economies and individuals’ quality of life. To learn more about CAPE-Youth and our publications, visit capeyouth.org.