Accommodations & COVID-19

As we shift from our in-person classes to alternative modes of delivery, our obligations to provide reasonable accommodations in new remote formats are still in place. We are here to partner with students and faculty  as they make this transition. OAAs goal of  facilitating equal access and an inclusive environment for our students is paramount. It is important to understand that the University’s responsibility to ensure accessible courses, programs, and services has not changed. The Office of Civil Rights has already posted a short video affirming those obligations.

Once students learn more about the design of the course, they can bring accommodation needs to the attention of OAA. Faculty that can provide early communication about the course design and expectations to students, the better OAA can partner with students and faculty to ensure that reasonable accommodations are instituted.

While our goal is to offer reasonable accommodations that are seamless with the student’s needs, there may be concerns that arise. We will work together in partnership to determine a solution as quickly as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are common student questions about accommodations in light of COVID-19.

I live with a family member that is high-risk, or I am out of state or out of the country. What can I do?

You can apply for remote learning accommodations here. Once we receive your application, we will notify your faculty that you will be a remote learner.

Will I still receive accommodations if my classes move to an alternative mode of delivery?

Yes, accommodations are still active. In some cases, in-person accommodations will not be needed. In other cases, adjustments to an accommodation will need to be made with the new format and perhaps new technology. As always, if a student experiences  a new challenge with an online class, they can request an accommodation adjustment through OAA. Students should keep in mind that any accommodation adjustment must be related to their disability.

What if I have a disability that is worsened by prolonged computer use/screen time?

Review your current active accommodations. If you think you need to modify or add an accommodation to support remote/online learning and test-taking due to disability-related need, please email OAA at sharing what you need and why.

Will I still receive extended testing time if my professor uses a timed online platform for my quizzes and exams?

Yes. Faculty will know how to extend time within other timed online platforms used.

Important: Because we are all adjusting to this new format, students may need to send reminder emails to their instructors before starting a quiz or exam in  Sakai to ensure your time has been extended. If you notice your time has not been increased, stop the test immediately and email your professor to make the correction.

Will exams be administered by the OAA staff?

No. OAA will not be proctoring exams while virtual instruction is in place. Please communicate with your instructor about how your exams and other evaluations will be handled. Online testing should allow for students to continue to receive their approved accommodations, including those for students requiring additional time. If you have an approved accommodation for a quiet or private test setting, please know that OAA will not be able to provide this setting on campus. By taking the exam online at home, the quiet or private testing location accommodation is being met.

Is OAA’s office open?

During this time, all staff members are working remotely, 

Has the accommodation process changed?

No, the process is the same. However, intake and update meetings are taking place via phone, Google Hangout, or Zoom. 

What about notetakers?

As with all accommodations, it depends on the individual student’s diagnosis and the accommodation a notetaker would provide. For the vast majority of students who have had a notetaker accommodation in the past, the move to recording lectures is a superior method to capturing content for students.  All software that faculty are using to provide content have the capacity for recording the lecture.  This allows students to review the lecture multiple times, at their own pace.  It also allows for students to take notes on the content without missing anything.  

Important: Students will need to familiarize themselves with the accessibility built-in features on their devices (computers, laptops, phones). Built-in Text-to-Speech (TTS) features will enable your device to read text aloud. OAA also offers the app “Read and Write” to offer speech-to-text, and text-to speech. OAA will provide instructions to students on  Read and Write via your PLU email address; however, students can also do an internet search for TTS instructions/video tutorials that are specific to their devices’ make/model. Student may also want to consider note taking apps.

Should I check my PLU email address regularly?

Yes. It is important to check your PLU email addresses regularly for PLU accommodation information.