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COVID-19 and Accommodations

Based on space analyses, number of classrooms, social distancing constraints and type of course, the university will seek to serve as many students as safety protocols allow for on-campus instruction. Students are given the opportunity to select their instructional preference, either on-campus, online or a combination. Some of the on-campus classes will use a hybrid model (i.e., some mix of on-campus and virtual strategies). Distance/Remote Learning courses will use a completely online model for courses. Distance education can be synchronous (i.e.,real-time instruction, scheduled discourse) or asynchronous (i.e., self-paced instruction, unscheduled discourse).

For students who have previously been, or are currently, registered with Student Accessibility Resources (SAR), classes delivered remotely/virtually may change the format, way and manner in which students will receive instructional materials. Classes delivered in a remote/virtual modality may be done synchronously or asynchronously.  Faculty may rely on different formats than had been utilized in the traditional face-to-face courses.  This may include more written or visual content, online examinations, web meetings, recorded lectures, and other media content.  

Accommodations previously approved at WVSU may be impacted by these changes.  It is important that students with accommodations communicate with both their faculty and Student Accessibility Resources (SAR) to provide feedback regarding their needs in the virtual or remote delivery/classroom environment.

 

COVID-Related MODIFICATION Requests


The university is committed to supporting students and program participants with COVID-19 based risk factors. The university will work with students who are most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 to ensure that they have the necessary resources to participate in university life as safely as possible.

You may submit a request for COVID-related modification for any of the following reasons:
 

  • I have a medical condition that puts me at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, as defined by the CDC (see FAQ for details).
  • I have another high-risk factor, as defined by the CDC (e.g. age, obesity, pregnancy).
  • I have a medical condition or disability not included in the CDC health factors that I believe is affected by COVID-19.

Types of Requests


We may approve a wide range of COVID-19 related modifications, including:
 

  • Remote attendance/participation for on-campus academic requirements
  • Additional/enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Alternative arrangements for face covering requirement

Request Procedure

Schedule Adjustments:

If you have concerns about the modality of your courses, you should first contact your academic advisor to discuss possible adjustments to your schedule to meet your needs. If scheduling adjustments do not adequately address your COVID-related concerns, then please submit a modification request.

SAR-Registered Students: 

No form required. Please contact the Accessibility Specialist with your request.

Students Not Registered with SAR:

  1. Submit a COVID-Related Modification Request Form.
     
  2. If you are making a request due to having a medical condition or disability that is impacted by COVID-19, please upload documentation with your request form. (See FAQ for details)
     
  3. Monitor your WVSU email for status updates and next steps.

Disclosures: SAR will not use or disclose any medical information you provide for any other purposes unless you authorize such disclosure or if such disclosure is otherwise required by law.
 

Questions/Assistance: Please contact us at sar@wvstateu.edu or 681-533-0850.

 

STUDENTS PREVIOUSLY/CURRENTLY REGISTERED WITH SAR DUE TO A DISABILITY

Be aware that when a remote delivery environment is available as an option, it may mean that accommodations change:
 
  • Certain accommodations may need to be implemented differently in remote delivery, based on the nature of instruction
  • Certain accommodations may require additional communication
  • Some accommodations may no longer be appropriate/applicable to the remote delivery
  • Some accommodations may already be built into the design of the remote delivery of the course
  • Some accommodations will continue to be provided without any significant changes
If you have questions about the implementation of accommodations in classes with remote delivery, or if you need assistance, please contact the Accessibility Specialist.

Student FAQ  

Q: Is Student Accessibility Resources (SAR) still operational?   

Yes, SAR is still operating Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Appointments and services are available in-person or remotely.

SAR does have limited capacity to proctor exams.

If you have a question or concern, please -
 

Q: What happens now that exams are online? How do I get extended time for an online exam?  

Communicate with your faculty to discuss your exam accommodations in their courses.  SAR is available to faculty and students to consult about unique circumstances. 
 
  • Some faculty may opt for alternative assessments (e.g. essays, untimed exams) which would not require exam accommodations.  
  • If your Faculty is creating online timed exams, please notify your Faculty if you will need extended time. Faculty are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Moodle or within whatever system the assessment is being provided.  

Q: How can I confirm that my extended time has been applied to my quizzes/tests/exams?

SAR strongly recommends that students confirm their time allotted is correct before starting an assessment.  The time limit is listed at the beginning of the assessment for those completed within Moodle/MyOnline.  If your time allotted is incorrect, please reach out to your Faculty.  If you are having difficulty contacting your Faculty, please contact SAR.

Q: I currently have a note-taker assigned in my in-person class. If a class is being delivered remotely, will I still receive a copy of the notes?  

Once you have learned from your faculty on how they will adapt the course for remote delivery, please let your note-taker know if you would like to continue receiving notes. 
You may find that you no longer need a note-taker due to the course design changes. For example, lectures that are prerecorded videos can be watched at your own pace.  On the other hand, some faculty may still opt for scheduled class meetings with real-time communication using Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom or another similar platform.   

Q: Does this affect Modification/Flexibility with Attendance Agreements?  

Completed agreements will be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Please contact your faculty to discuss any additional barriers presented by changes to the course format. Let the Accessibility Specialist know ASAP if you need any assistance. 

Q: For remotely delivered instruction using alternative learning options, I anticipate barriers and would like to request new accommodations. What are my next steps? 

If you are not currently registered with SAR, follow the steps outlined on the SAR Request for Accommodations Form available online. 

If you are a student currently registered with SAR, contact the Accessibility Specialist

Q: Does this affect Modified/Flexibility with Attendance Agreements? 
 

Completed agreements should be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Students with these agreements should be contacting faculty to discuss any additional barriers, if any, presented by changes to the course format. SAR is available to faculty and students to consult. 

For students who are requesting a modification to attend a face-to-face class in a remote modality due to COVID-19, please refer to the COVID Related Modification Request procedure.

Faculty FAQ  

Q: As I am adapting my course materials for remote instruction, what should I be considering with regards to disability access? How do I best support my students? 

We acknowledge the significant effort required to adapt your courses to remote delivery instruction. We want to collaborate with you to ensure that access for students with disabilities is maintained through this transition. Some students may encounter disability-related barriers with online or other modes of remote instruction or assessment (e.g. students who use assistive technology, students with medical limitations on screen usage).

The Accessibility Specialist is available for consultation regarding accessibility of your course format and materials. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you are creating virtual course content (adapted from DO-IT): 
 
  • Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting content, and make instructions and expectations clear for activities, projects, and assigned reading.  
  • Offer outlines, scaffolding tools, and adequate opportunities for practice to help students learn. 
  • When selecting new materials, try to find videos that are already captioned, and articles that are available in a text-searchable format (meaning you can highlight and search the text within the document; click here for an example).  
  • Images can be made accessible to blind and low-vision students by providing captions or inserting alt text into the image. Use large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds and color combinations that are high contrast.  
  • Provide flexibility and understanding as this experience may cause disruption to the student’s home life and available resources – which may negatively impact a student’s disability symptoms.   
  • If you are providing your lecture or other videos in an asynchronous manner, be mindful of the captioning capability of the platform you are utilizing –  Faculty who intend to pre-record lectures or who plan to rely more heavily on YouTube or other video outlets should ensure that the videos have accurate captions.  YouTube automated captions do not meet the standard for effective communication/accommodation. 
For more tips, visit:
 

Q: How will exam accommodations work? Will SAR proctor online exams?  
Extended time on exams as an accommodation generally only applies to traditional, time-limited exams. 

If you decide to offer alternative means of assessment (e.g. essays, non-timed exams, project work), then a student’s extended time may no longer be applicable. We encourage you to speak with registered students if that is the case. 

SAR does have some limited ability to proctor exams while the University’s instruction remains remotely delivered. 

Please communicate with your students to discuss their exam accommodations in your courses. SAR is available to faculty and students to consult. 

Q: How do I give students their extended time for online quizzes/exams? 
Prior to making time allotment adjustments, please confirm how much extended time each of your students approved for this accommodation should get for their quizzes/exams. 

To extend time in the Moodle environment, please refer to the instructions from the Center for Online Learning.

With regards to the amount of time approved for a particular student, the student should have provided you with the Accommodations Implementation Plan which indicated the extended time multiplier.  You can also confirm an individual student’s extended time multiplier by contacting SAR. 
 

COVID-Related MODIFICATIONS FAQ

Q: If I have a medical condition or disability that is impacted by COVID-19, what kind of documentation do I need to upload with my request form? 

We will review and consider all pieces of documentation submitted. The following are recommendations for documentation to support COVID-related accommodation requests.
 

  • For high-risk conditions: Your documentation should confirm your diagnosis. If you have a condition that is only high-risk depending on the severity (e.g. moderate to severe asthma), the documentation should speak to the severity of your condition.
  • For non-high-risk conditions: Your documentation should confirm your diagnosis and address how your condition is affected by COVID-19. We encourage your health care provider to first review the university’s options available in order to determine what modifications, if any, will be necessary.

Q: I have tested positive for COVID-19 or I have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

First, please take care of yourself. Follow the university’s guidance on health reporting and quarantine/isolation procedures.
 

After you have submitted a request, we will send you an email stating our support for academic flexibility during your quarantine/isolation. You can forward this email to your instructors and then communicate with them about alternative arrangements. You or your instructors can contact us with any questions or concerns.

Q: Do I have to wear a face mask?

Yes. Wearing a face mask is required in indoor common spaces and classrooms on the WVSU campus.
 

If you are seeking an exemption from this requirement due to a physical or mental condition, please follow our request procedure.

Q: What conditions are considered high-risk by the CDC?

The CDC provides guidance on health-related factors which may increase the risk of complications from COVID-19. The list of factors may evolve as information about COVID is discovered, so please visit the CDC coronavirus webpage for the most up to date and complete listing. Some of the common health factors include:
 

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (Body Mass Index of 30 or higher)
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

People with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
 

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Smoking
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

CONTACT INFORMATION

Michael Casey, MS, CRC, CDF, LCAS
Accessibility Specialist

117 Sullivan Hall East

Phone/Text - (681) 533-0850
Email - sar@wvstateu.edu

COVID-RELATED MODIFICATION REQUEST FORM

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