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OU Accessibility, Disability Resource Center releases new protocols for student accommodations amid COVID-19

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Disability Resource Center

The sign in front of the Office of the University Community that houses the Disability Resource Center on April 15.

OU's Accessibility and Disability Resource Center released new exam procedures and policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release, the policies will be in place while the university observes the Safe and Resilient guidelines. The new procedures include following social distancing guidelines, a change in proctoring hours and an evaluation process for determining if a student can attend class remotely.

According to the release, students with "significant disabilities that impact classroom attendance" will work with the center to determine what accommodations can be made. If a "reasonable accommodation" cannot be found, the student will be allowed to take the class remotely.

The release said this will be a "rare occurrence" and only offered in cases when the classes are not otherwise available in an online format. If the accommodation is made, the instructor must avoid penalizing the student for attendance requirements, provide a way for the student to access the class virtually — like Zoom — and allow the student to complete exams and turn in assignments remotely.

Proctoring hours will start at 8:30 a.m., and all class exams must be turned in by 5 p.m. the same day, according to the release. 

To better adhere to social distancing guidelines, the release said exam start times will occur in 15-minute increments with a limited number of spots available for each testing session.

In addition, students should schedule their exam three business days in advance for any time during the center's hours of operation on the day of the test and are expected to coordinate a new test date with the center if they are unable to take the exam on the day assigned by their professor, according to the release.

If a student fails to schedule their exam three business days in advance and no time slots are available, the release said it is the student's responsibility to communicate with their professor to schedule a time and place to take their exam.

For students taking online exams for in-person classes, the release said they are required to complete the exams on their personal computers within the center's proctoring hours. According to the release, the center's computers are "reserved for students requiring adaptive technology."

All pen and paper exams must be sent via email or faxed to the center 24 to 48 hours before the test so socially distanced seating can be arranged, according to the release. Monday exams should be sent to the center no later than the Friday before the exam. 

If a professor fails to send an exam to the center at least 24 hours in advance, the release said the professor must find a time and place for the student to take the exam with accommodations. Exams are required to be sent to the center unless the student and professor agree the student can take the exam in class.

After an exam has been completed in the center, the release says it will be sealed in an envelope and stamped for validation, and then the student must deliver the exam to the professor. It is recommended professors wait at least 72 hours before handling the exams.

According to the release, professors should make their digital classroom accessible by enabling captions on all video content, making a screen reader available for any written material and ensuring students can navigate material with a keyboard only.

Professors or students with questions or concerns are encouraged to reach out to the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center.

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