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Disability Services Coronavirus Updates

The campus disability services office is closed, but staff are working remotely Monday through Friday from 8:30 am-5 pm. All appointments and services will be conducted virtually until further notice. The best way to connect is to send a message to the disability services email. We will respond as soon as possible. 

If you have previously sent communication via fax and have not heard back please resend the information to the disability services email.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the disability services open?

The office is closed, but the disability services staff are working Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm. All appointments and services will be conducted virtually until further notice. As such, the best way to connect is to email the office at disability services email. We will respond as soon as possible. If you have previously sent a communication via fax we have not received it. Please resend the information to disability services email.

What happens to my current accommodations?

Accommodations will continue to be administered, and disability services will continue operations to assist you in learning remotely. If you need additional support or information, contact us via disability services email.

I haven’t needed accommodations in the past but I do now, what should I do How do I start this process?

If you haven’t previously worked with disability services but need accommodations, you may connect with us virtually. We can complete your intake by email or Zoom conference.

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

  • If your instructor is creating online timed exams, please notify your instructor if you will need extended time. Faculty are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Canvas.
  • Some instructors may opt for alternative assessments (e.g. essays, untimed exams) that would not require exam accommodations.

If you have had an accommodation letter written for extended time on testing your accommodation remains in place. Please communicate with your instructors to discuss your exam accommodations in their courses.  The Disability Services staff is available to instructors and students to consult about unique circumstances. 

I currently have a volunteer note-taker assigned in my in-person class. Now that class is online, will I still receive a copy of the 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 instructors may still opt for scheduled class meetings with real-time communication using Zoom virtual classroom. 

Once you have learned from your instructor on how they will adapt the course for virtual instruction, please let your note-taker know if you would like to continue receiving notes.

Regardless of your decision to continue receiving notes, all established note-takers will receive compensation for their notes.

Additional Resources

With the likely increase in online content, we wanted to make you aware of additional resources for you.

  • Salem State University has a Universal Site License for Read&Write, a literacy software that has text-to-speech capabilities as well as a number of other helpful reading, writing, and study tools.
  • We also have a license for EquatIO, created by the makers of Read&Write, which is a toolbar that makes creating digital math/STEM content easy (and accessible for text-to-speech readers!)

More information about both programs, including download instructions and video tutorials, is available on Canvas.

Zoom Video Conferencing

Faculty FAQs

As a reminder, it is required that the student provide a letter to professors from Disability Services prior to receiving Classroom accommodations.

If a student discloses a disability and feels they will need accommodations in order to complete course requirements, please direct them to contact disability services via email at disability services email.

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

We acknowledge the significant effort required to quickly adapt your courses to online 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 instruction or assessment (e.g. students who use assistive technology, students with medical limitations on-screen usage). Disability Services staff are available for consultation regarding best practices and accessibility. Email disability services to arrange a meeting.

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; see 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. 

How will exam accommodations work? Will Disability Services 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 to speak with registered students if that is the case.

The current virtual learning environment has created many obstacles and therefore the disability services will not be proctoring exams for the foreseeable future. All exams should be administered online or through other remote assessment methods by faculty. 

Please communicate with your students to discuss their exam accommodations in your courses. Disability services is available to instructors and students to consult.

How do I give students their extended time for online quizzes/exams?

Learn the necessary steps required to apply extra time in Canvas.