DSP&S Ensures Student Accommodations Continue Despite Campus Closure

Despite SBVC closing its campus, the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) Department ensured students and faculty that many of their services would continue through online platforms or social distancing. DSPS Director Larry Brunson shared modified procedures, including how students and instructor contact will flow during the pandemic, how DSPS will be processing Recommended Academic Adjustments, Auxiliary Aids & Services (RAAAS) forms, and modifications to proctoring exams. “[Accommodations] are not going away because of this online transition,” said Brunson, “I think that that's really important for people to know, and we just want to make sure that people have all of the right information as we navigate through this unprecedented time.”

Certain services have been suspended until further notice, such as Learning Disabilities Testing, Academic Tutoring and all 900 level DSPS courses. Nonetheless, he said this transition to online platforms has given his department the opportunity for streamlining and growing their virtual services in a digital age. In a webinar with staff and faculty, Brunson explained that the biggest changes for DSPS students will be with to academic support for testing accommodations and test proctoring. Students no longer need to submit as Testing Accommodations Request (TAR), but instead can simply send an email the department regarding necessary accommodations. DSPS will then send a copy of RAAAS forms to corresponding instructor to set up the accommodation for the exam on Canvas.

Under special circumstances approved by Director, DSPS at least 48 hours in advance, a student may take their test in the High-Tech Center (HTC) with their instructor, while practicing social distancing. Rhiannon Lares, Instructional Support Specialist, trained staff and faculty on the steps to make adjustments on testing timeframes and available features in Canvas to facilitate these test proctoring sessions.

The High-Tech Center has new hours during Covid-19 social distancing, and will be is open Tuesdays and Wednesday from 9 a.m.-3:30 a.m. Laurie Sullivan, Interpreting Services Specialist, also said that interpreter services will also be modified for students. If a class has moved online, interpreters will not be available, but students can instead use transcribing services. If a class must still meet in person, or if an instructor needs to arrange a non-text meeting with a student, DSPS will arrange a virtual meeting with an on-screen interpreter.