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Important updates and answers to common questions from the SAEO team


SAEO Operations

Is the SAEO Office open? 

In anticipation of the fall 2020 semester, on Monday, August 3, members of the SAEO team will return to our offices on a rotating basis.

How will case managers and other members of the SAEO team be meeting with students?

For the time being, all meetings with members of the SAEO team will be by appointment only and will take place either virtually or by phone. For those students who do not have access to a quiet and private environment or sufficient internet access to conduct meetings virtually, we will maintain a Zoom Room in our office which can be used by request. Please contact SAEO@vcu.edu to reserve the Zoom Room.

Will the Testing Access Center (TAC) be open if I use testing accommodations?

TAC will resume in-person operations for the fall 2020 semester to assist with proctoring accommodated exams. In order to meet appropriate social distancing guidelines, we will be operating at a significantly reduced capacity. As a result, we will only be proctoring exams for classes that are taught in-person. We will not be able to proctor any exams that are already being offered remotely unless special arrangements are made. If you are in an online course, you should contact your instructor to inquire about how your testing accommodations (such as extended time) will be factored in. For any questions about scheduling with TAC or your testing accommodations, contact saeotestadmin@vcu.edu.

Current Students

Will my accommodations still be in place for my online classes? 

Yes! If you have been approved for accommodations, that has not changed. Accommodations you used in your in-person classes might look different or, in some cases, not be necessary for an online course. In many cases, they will work the same as they always have. The best thing you can do at this time is to request a copy of your fall 2020 accommodation letter and contact your instructors to ask, "How will my accommodations work in your class?" As always, SAEO is here to help make these arrangements.

I have concerns about accessibility in my online courses. What should I do? 

As you know, many courses that were previously taught in-person have been converted to an online format for the fall 2020 semester. Your instructors are doing all they can to ensure that this will be as positive, rich, and accessible an experience as possible. If you have concerns about accessibility in an online environment, I encourage you to contact your instructors immediately to share those concerns or ask any questions. The sooner they hear from you, the better able to address your concerns they will be. You can also contact your case manager or the SAEO office (saeo@vcu.edu) with any questions or concerns. 

Have there been any major changes to the academic calendar? 

There have been several changes to the academic calendar for the fall 2020 semester. You can find those changes on VCU's Academic Calendars website

There is so much information coming out, what are the best places to go to understand what is going on? 

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    With all of the confusion and misinformation circulating about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), it is good to know where to turn for sound, factual information. The CDC webpage is your best resource for factual, up-to-date information.
  2. VCU Student FAQs
    This website will be updated continuously with new responses to the questions we are commonly receiving from you, our students.
  3. Keep on Learning
    VCU has created and will update the Keep on Learning website for students. This website will provide an overview of important information and tips to remain engaged with your classes as we move towards remote/online teaching. 
  4. Keep on Being Well at VCU
    VCU has always focused on wellness within our community. During times like these, it becomes even more of a priority. For tips and tools on how to focus on your well-being, take a look at our Keep on Being Well website.

Future Students

I have committed to VCU and would like to start the process of registering for accommodations with SAEO. What should I do? 

First of all, congratulations and welcome to the VCU family! We are looking forward to working together. The intake process has not changed and you can learn more about it on our Registration page. We will begin reviewing intake materials for students entering in the fall sometime in mid-May. In the meantime, you can contact us at saeo@vcu.edu or (804) 828-2253 to speak with a member of our team.

I am thinking about coming to VCU and I would like to know more about the supports and services SAEO and VCU have to offer. Is there someone I can talk to? 

Absolutely! While we will not be able to hold in-person meetings for the foreseeable future, we are happy to set up a virtual meeting or phone call. You can contact us at  saeo@vcu.edu or (804) 828-2253 to speak with a member of our team.

Faculty

One of my student's let me know they need to isolate/quarantine or  contracted COVID-19 and they are asking me for assistance. What should/can I do to support the student?

If a student informs you that they have or suspect they may have contracted COVID-19, direct them to contact University Student Health Services at (804) 828-8828 if they have not already done so. Please also share this information with our colleagues in the Dean of Students office (vcudean@vcu.edu). This will help us respond to the student and implement steps to help protect our community. Many students who need to isolate, quarantine, or even contract COVID-19 may still be able to continue with their coursework, particularly if they are already in an online section. If the class meets in-person, you may consider options for allowing temporary remote/virtual attendance until they are cleared to return. If the student is requesting formal accommodations, please have them contact SAEO@vcu.edu to facilitate a conversation about what may be deemed reasonable. 

How exactly will testing accommodations work for the fall 2020 semester?

The Testing Access Center (TAC) will resume in-person operations for the fall 2020 semester to assist with proctoring accommodated exams. In order to meet appropriate social distancing guidelines, we will be operating at a significantly reduced capacity. As a result, we will only be proctoring exams that are scheduled to take place on campus. We will not be able to proctor any exams that your class will be able to take remotely unless special arrangements are necessary. For any questions about scheduling with TAC or your testing accommodations, contact saeotestadmin@vcu.edu.

If I am proctoring an exam remotely, what is the best way to account for my student's testing accommodations?

As always, if you have specific questions about implementing testing accommodations, you can contact us at saeotestadmin@vcu.edu to discuss. The most common concern we hear about is related to extended time on an exam. One way to account for a time and a half or double time accommodation is to consider extending the time for your entire class. This would account for approved accommodations, as well as offer a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach that would benefit all students, including those with distracting home environments, unreliable internet connections, etc. If you need to extend exam time for individual students, Blackboard and Canvas will allow you to make exceptions to your time limits on a student-by-student basis. Visit the links below for step-by-step instructions.

How to extend the time allotted on an exam in CANVAS
How to extend the time allotted on an exam in BLACKBOARD

A student in my class has indicated they require a peer-notetaker. What is the process to make these arrangements? 

If a student in your class has been approved for a peer notetaker, this will appear on their accommodation letter. You would verify with the student that they are interested in receiving notes for your specific course (as some students do not want notes for all of their courses). If they would like the notes, we would ask you to make an announcement to and/or email the class indicating that a peer-notetaker is needed for the class. We generally pitch this as a volunteer opportunity, which can be included in a resume, and the notetaker will receive a formal commendation for their services from our office. If anyone is interested, please connect them with our team at saeonotes@vcu.edu

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