Accessibility and Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for universities including student accessibility to programs and services. Wichita State University’s Office of Disability Services has been working diligently to anticipate these challenges and to timely address all accessibility needs and requests in a timely and effective manner. Click on the links below to find helpful information on navigating COVID-19 accessibility challenges.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, masks are deemed a necessary health and safety precaution for faculty, staff and students. In fact, it is expected that instructors, staff, and students will wear masks or face coverings in the classroom and in student service offices. People who rely on lip reading as an adaptation for their hearing impairments will have their ability to read lips blocked by such masks.
- Faculty and all teaching staff: You are expected to wear an alternative mask provided by the Office of Disability Services if you are aware of a student in your class who has a hearing impairment.
- Students: If you rely on lip reading in the classroom, you are expected to notify the faculty and/or teaching staff of your need for an alternative mask, along with the Office of Disability Services.
Alternative masks should be worn at all times during instruction or when providing services to students who rely on lip reading as an adaption for their hearing impairment.
Remote learners are entitled to the same access to services as traditional on-campus learners. All online or distance-learning instruction and curriculum are subject to the same accessibility standards as traditional on-campus models. All handouts, textbooks, study guides and other classroom resources must be accessible to all students, or accessible alternatives must be made available. Faculty, instructional staff and students should contact the Office of Disability Services or Instructional Design and Access for assistance in identifying an accessible alternative.
Courses that are offered online for the current term and planned to remain online in the future are listed as an IIE course in the schedule. These courses are commonly referred to as “fully online courses.” Content developed for fully online courses are required to meet the following WSU accessibility standards:
- All course texts available in an accessible format (screen reader accessible PDFs, ePub, etc.)
- All video is captioned, or a transcript is provided
- All audio has a transcript or other text equivalent provided
- Any required software is accessible to students with visual or fine motor disabilities
Instructors are encouraged to consider long-term intent when designing remotely delivered content and create accessible materials if they potentially will be reused (including documents, recorded video, live video, additional software, etc.).
Content developed for one-time delivery in remote formats that is NOT planned for reuse is not required to meet the same accessibility standards that fully online courses must meet. These temporary online courses must, however, to meet the accommodation needs of all students who are enrolled in the class at the time of delivery. Faculty, instructional staff and students should contact the Office of Disability Services to determine the accommodation needs of a student.
Live or recorded video must meet accessibility standards. There are a number of possible accessibility solutions for live or recorded video:
- Recorded video delivered through Youtube or Panopto will include captains for the hearing impaired. Faculty and instructors are expected to check captions prior to assignment to ensure accuracy.
- Live video must be accompanied by sign language interpreters for live (Zoom) classes. Faculty and instructional staff should reach out to the Office of Disability Services to arrange sign language interpreters for live classes. Faculty and instructional staff are encouraged to find alternative methods of curriculum delivery, including video play back with captioning, to minimize expenses.