Accessibility

A critical part of returning to campus is ensuring that everyone can be successful and healthy in our modified environment. Students, faculty and staff are all encouraged to review these practices, to be thoughtful about how COVID-19 may be impacting people, and to assist others with managing the changes that COVID-19 brings to campus and to people’s lives. 

Guidance for Communication

Faculty, staff and students are reminded that GW community members with hearing loss rely on visual cues when engaging in conversations.

Faculty members will receive notification on the DSS Letter to Professors provided by the student should the student need the support of you wearing a Clear Facemask.

Other considerations:

  • DSS service providers such as ASL/CART or note taking support is to be provided remotely at this time. This helps to decrease the number of individuals in the physical classroom space.
  • Visual aid support is provided to blind individuals, to ensure equal access to your course materials. It is important to collaborate with DSS in a timely manner to ensure an alternative is available to your student. 
  • University-wide notification systems should be accessible on mobile devices. 
  • Mass email communications should be accessible.

Guidance for Campus Offices/Facilities

  • Provide cleaning supplies to wipe down surfaces before and after any face to face meetings.
  • Ensure both entrances and exits are accessible despite directional flow of traffic.
  • Provide enough space for individuals with mobility aids, including service dogs to have a clear path including the social distancing of six feet.
  • Remove or cover excess furniture to promote social distancing.
  • Create a protocol and schedule for when staff will be on campus.
  • Support remote work for those who are immunocompromised or have other health conditions that increase the risk for COVID-19.
  • Collaborate with The Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations office for guidance.
  • Ensure that students can access the Mail Services facilities or storage lockers and provide an alternative if a student requests due to disability.
  • Conduct meetings virtually when possible to eliminate the need for masks, thus facilitating effective communication by seeing facial expressions and lip reading.
  • Provide high color contrast signs, and if available, tactile floor graphics to ensure access to those with vision impairments.
  • Ensure that bathrooms are operable and stocked with hand soap and paper products.
  • Ensure that fully accessible stalls are always available even when social distancing.
  • Elevator use signage should include guidance on only two patrons in an elevator at a time. In the case of a patron with a mobility need, the elevator will be limited to that one individual and their mobility aid(s), personal assistant and/or service animal.

Guidance for Campus Computer Labs

  • Provide access to labs when social distancing can be maintained.
  • Provide access to software via a virtual computing lab when the physical location of the lab does not support social distancing.
  • If a student requires access to specific software and is unable to utilize it with their assistive technology, they should contact Alisa Major at [email protected].

Guidance for Residential Housing

  • Provide accommodations approved through DSS when available.
  • Limit the number of individuals in gathering spaces.
  • Ensure furniture has been removed and rearranged to accommodate six feet of distance between the head of beds.
  • Be mindful of allergies to common materials or chemicals such as Latex and  cleaning supplies.

Guidance for Faculty in the Classroom 

  • Be mindful when speaking to students that you are facing them.
  • Don’t speak when your back is turned to the class, for example while writing an equation on a white board.
  • Wear a microphone when possible to amplify your voice over the use of a mask.
  • Speak slowly when using microphones to allow for clear communication to interpreters and CART providers.
  • Repeat questions and comments made in class.
  • Don’t assign group projects that may promote gatherings in person. 
  • Provide remote access when possible.
  • Don’t make assumptions about a student's ability, please refer them to DSS for support. 
  • Make every effort to ensure your class materials are accessible.
  • Provide exams and quizzes in Blackboard or a learning management system with the virtual proctoring system available to your school.
  • Wipe down hard surfaces with sanitizing wipes before leaving the room. This could include white boards, markers, desks and the podium.

Guidance for Events

  • Choose a venue that is accessible.
  • Ensure that individuals are able to physically access bathrooms, goods and services.
  • Comply with the DC Reopening guidance on the number of individuals able to physically attend your event.
  • Find event space that promotes social distancing.
  • Ensure that presenters are set up with a microphone.
  • Ensure that questions or comments are repeated by the presenter. Provide the questioner with a microphone.
  • Ensure that media presented has closed captioning.
  • Provide access in a remote/virtual environment when possible.
  • Be mindful of allergies to common materials or chemicals such as Latex, cleaning supplies and food. 
  • Identify a point person for accommodation requests to be directed to.

Guidance for Transportation

  • Provide accessible shuttles to and from campuses.
  • Provide wipes/disinfectant to clean vehicles after each route.
  • Open windows when the weather permits to increase air flow.
  • Limit the number of passengers.
  • Patrons should be seated in every other seat.
  • Passengers should be wearing a mask.
  • Only provide services to GW affiliated faculty, staff and students.
  • Provide additional shuttles to accommodate for social distancing. 
  • Provide assistance to those needing access to the lift/ lowering the staircase.
  • Provide accessible communication of route and times.

Guidance for Retail/Vendors

  • Post hours in an accessible format.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines and only allow a percentage of individuals in the space based on DC Reopening guidance.
  • Allow workers to wear masks and gloves as needed for handling food or money.
  • Provide workers with hand sanitizer and masks.
  • Allow GW members to order online or pay online when possible.
  • Provide contactless pick up when and if available.