Important Updates regarding COVID-19

COVID-19 AccessAbility FAQ's for Students
 

Our office has heard from many of you with questions regarding COVID-19 planning, and how your accessibility related academic accommodations may be impacted by the decision to cancel all in-person undergraduate and research-stream Masters and Doctoral courses and provide teaching by other means (e.g. online).

Please know that our office remains committed to helping you complete your term with as little disruption as possible. Download our new resource, Accessibility Resources for Students in Online Learning and COVID-19 Response: Take Home and Online Exams These document discusse the transition from classroom to online learning and testing for our students and provide tips, referral pathways and next steps.

Below, read our answers to your most frequently asked questions during this time.

If you have general questions related to UTSC course registration, financial needs, scholarships, awards, exams, graduation, petitions, and TCards please go to the Office of the Registrar's COVID-19 Information & Updates

These changes will require some adjustments by all members of the campus community (faculty, staff and students). Thank you for your patience and cooperation to find reasonable solutions, given these exceptional circumstances.

Connecting with AccessAbility Services

How can I schedule an appointment with my Disability Consultant or Assistive Technology Consultant?

  1. by PHONE, through our main office line at: 416-287-7560. Front desk staff are available to answer your calls and help you arrange appointments. If you reach our voicemail, please leave your full name and phone number to contact you at.
  2. by EMAIL at: ability@utsc.utoronto.ca

How will I meet with my Disability Consultant or Assistive Technology Consultant if we cannot meet in person?

Students can meet with their Disability Consultant and Assistive Technology Consultant on the phone, through TEAMS and can communicate via email.

I usually meet with my Disability Consultant during their drop-in hours. How will this work now?

If you need to meet with your consultant, they continue to hold appointments to meet with you by phone or online through TEAMS. You can also reach out to your consultant by email. Please call 416-287-7560 or email ability@utsc.utoronto.ca to book an appointment.

MS TEAMS online platform

What is MS TEAMS?

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaborative space that brings together people, content and conversations. It is available free to students, staff and faculty at the University of Toronto.

How do I access MS TEAMS?

Students can go to the UTSC TEAMS site to review generic materials on
-    Accessing and installing MS teams on their device
-    Joining a MS TEAMS meeting

TIP: Students should use the browser to access MS Teams

I have experienced some technical difficulties with MS TEAMS. Who can help me?

If you need assistance to download MS TEAMS you can contact the student helpdesk at 416.287.4357 (HELP) or helpdesk@utsc.utoronto.ca
In the event of any technical difficulties, at the beginning of your meeting the Disability Consultant or Assistive Technology Consultant will ask you what number or email they can call you at.

Accommodations

How will I receive my accommodations now that my course is online?

You will still have access to your accommodations as your courses transition to online learning. Based on your specific accommodations, you are encouraged to connect with your Disability Consultant, should you have specific questions about how your accommodations will translate to an online learning environment. If you haven’t already, and feel comfortable doing so, share your Letter of Accommodation with your course instructors.  If you require support please contact our office.

What if I no longer need accommodations, now that my classes are online?

As always, accessing your accommodations is your choice. Should you no longer require in-class accommodations, no action is needed on your end with a few exceptions (see below). You are encouraged to log on to online classes as outlined by your professor/faculty.

I have a reduced course load accommodation. How will this be affected?

You will still receive this accommodation. If your full-time status changed because of this transition, please connect with your Disability Consultant.  If you receive OSAP, we recommend you speak with a Financial Aid Advisor in the Office of the Registrar and an Academic Advisor to discuss degree and program planning.

I regularly use sign language interpreting or have my courses captioned in real time. What should I do now that my courses are online?

Should you require these services for online lectures, if you have not done so, reach out to notetaking@utsc.utoronto.ca immediately to discuss next steps. There are many alternative options for you to access lecture content, but it is important we put these in place immediately.

Can I continue to access peer notetaking?

Yes, our amazing volunteer notetakers have been asked to continue taking notes and uploading them to the notetaking portal on myAIMS as usual.

In order to recruit volunteer note takers for online classes, we have included a message in the Letters of Accommodation that students access in myAIMS, and provide to their course instructors. The Letters of Accommodation include a link with instructions on how to recruit note takers, as well as a suggested script and posting to embed into course pages (e.g. Quercus).

Students may also download the note taking package and download the announcement script, and email it to course instructors directly. This is the first step in recruiting peer note takers for classes. If you have seen note taking announcement messages on your course pages and/or in your lectures, but are still experiencing an issue finding a note taker match in myAIMS, please inform us as soon as possible.

If you have a questions about the volunteer notetaking program, or require assistance with any steps, please contact notetaking@utsc.utoronto.ca or call us at 416-208-2662

I recently experienced a concussion/head injury and screen time is challenging for me. What should I do?

If you have concerns, your consultant can discuss strategies and accommodations with you.

I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and my illness is affecting my ability to complete my work. Am I eligible to register with AccessAbility Services?

COVID-19 is a disabling medical condition, which you may be eligible to receive accommodations for.  Please contact 416-287-7560 or ability@utsc.utoronto.ca to schedule an appointment to talk with a Disability Consultant.

Tests, Midterms & Exam Accommodations

Am I still able to write my online tests with accommodations?

Accommodated Test and Exams is still operational and providing accommodated testing support to students on request for online tests and exams.

  • Students should continue to register to receive accommodations for their test/exams via myAIMS.  
  • The deadline for students to register with Accommodated Tests and Exams, has passed but the Late Request Module on myAIMS is currently active.
  • Accommodated Tests and Exams are currently reaching out to professors to determine if each test has been cancelled, or moved online.    
  • If your professor informs us that your test has been cancelled, we will cancel your booking in myAIMS and inform you via email.  
  • If your professor informs us that your test has been moved online, we will provide them with your extra time and break time accommodations to ensure that they can be added to your online test per your accommodations.
  • Please do not cancel your tests/exam bookings on myAIMS if your Professor has announced that the tests/exams will be moving to an on-line delivery format. We require the information to inform your Professor that you would like to receive accommodation for their on-line tests

I have accommodations for additional writing time as well as stopped clock breaks. How will this work in an online testing format?

Students who are writing online with accommodations should note that this time, including breaks, is being added into your total test writing time. Students are strongly encouraged to use their break time as intended. Quercus will not shut down or "time out" if you step away from your computer during the allotted time for your testing.

For more detailed steps, please see our Taking a Timed Exam on Quercus instruction document (MS Word)

How will my instructor know my accommodations online, especially that I require extra time?

As long as you register with the Accommodated Tests and Exams office through myAIMS, as per the usual procedure, then your extra time will be facilitated by that office. You do not need to reach out to your instructor, but again, it is very important that you register for any online exams as quickly as possible to ensure this is arranged on your behalf.

I am writing a timed online exam. How do I know how much time I have?

In Quercus Open the course. In Course Navigation, click the "Quizzes" link.

Find you Final Exam, and  you should be able to see the day the exam opens and the due date of the exam. Click the exam to see its duration and the exact date/time it will open.

For detailed step-by-step instructions please view Taking a Timed Exam in Quercus instructions (MS Word)

Note: Students who are writing online with accommodations will have this time, including scheduled break time, added into the total test writing time. Students are strongly encouraged to use the break time as intended. Quercus will not shut down or "time out" if students step away from their computer during the allotted time for testing.

 

Has the registration process changed for test/exam registration?

No, you should still register for your tests/exams as usual. If you have already submitted a registration to write a test or exam, you don’t need to register again if it has been moved online. We acknowledge that there are still many decisions being made about the format of final exams – we ask that you still continue to register based on the information that has been provided of the date/time, even though the final format of exams may still be unclear. We will update this page as information changes.

My final exam is no longer showing up on myAIMS. What should I do?

Students should email accessexams@utsc.utoronto.ca to discuss this with the Accommodated Test and Exam Services.  In the email state if you have received any information from the professor regarding the status of the exam.

What is the difference between a take-home exam and an assignment a student would usually request a one-week extension on using their letter of accommodation?

A take-home exam is a timed assignment that has replaced a final exam, and the accommodations for additional test/exam time will be facilitated on your behalf by Accommodated Test and Exam Services, provided you registered by the deadline. In the situation of an assignment where a student has had weeks or months to prepare, then a student can request the usual extension accommodation of up to one week from the due date if this is listed on the letter of accommodation. If you have questions related to additional time or extensions, please communicate with your Disability Consultant.

 

How do I submit my take-home exams to Quercus

How do I submit an exam in Quercus using Turnitin?

I am writing my online final exam on Quercus with my Assistive Technology. Do you have any suggestions to help me use my AT in the Quercus Platform?

See below for tips for using Assistive Technology in Quercus

Firefox is recommended for most features and accessibility.
 

Jaws Screen Reader

Recommended browser is Firefox.  This includes using JAWS with refreshable Braille display.
For BB collaborate:

NVDA screen reader

Recommended browser is Firefox


VoiceOver screen reader (Macintosh OS)

Recommended browser is Safari
For BB collaborate:

Kurzweil 3000 Read the Web text to speech 

Recommended browser is Chrome
Read the Web is also available for Firefox


Dragon speech recognition

Recommended browser is Firefox
Download and install Dragon extension for Firefox
Use Firefox keyboard commands as needed
Use Dragon Web commands

Tip: When selecting radio buttons while doing a quiz/test/exam it is important to say “click radio buttons” at which point all the radio buttons will be numbers.  Then say “choose *number*” in order to select the desired radio button.


ZoomText screen enhancement 

Recommended browser is Firefox
 

Windows OS accessibility options 

Compatible with Quercus
 

Macintosh OS accessibility options 

Compatible with Quercus


General Accessibility Resources

 

Academics

How can I learn more about my options regarding CR/NCR, withdrawing from courses, etc.?

Please refer to the Office of the Registrar’s COVID-19 Information and Updates regarding your academic options.  UTSC students can go to the Office of the Registrar’s website for more information.

 

I need to petition an extension for my course work for disability-related reasons, how do I do this?

You can discuss your disability-related petition with your Disability Consultant by booking an appointment.  Petitions are submitted through the Office of the Registrar.  See documentation requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and need to petition my course work. What should I do?

Please review the Office of the Registrar website on COVID-19 Absence Declaration

Accommodation Renewals

I want to take classes in May but I cannot get my updated medical documentation due to the COVID-19 closures. What do I do?

We recommend you still schedule a phone or virtual appointment as we also consider your lived experience for accommodation planning. The service may be able to extend your accommodations until you are able to get the documentation.

I cannot get my medical documentation during the COVID-19 restrictions. I am not taking courses until September. What should I do?

You can follow up with us in June to schedule your renewal appointment.  Students will be required to submit medical documentation to the service, upon request.  We recommend you do not wait until September due to the high volume of new students scheduling appointments.

Medical Documentation

I have an intake appointment but I cannot get my updated medical documentation due to the COVID-19 closures. What do I do?

Multiple healthcare providers are now offering virtual appointments. Please connect with your current healthcare provider regarding this.

If you are seeing a healthcare provider at Health & Wellness within the University of Toronto, you will still be able to connect with them over the phone. Find more information about Health & Wellness appointments.

We also recommend you schedule a phone or virtual appointment as we also consider your lived experience for accommodation planning. The service will assess our eligibility for services and discuss next steps. Students will be required to submit medical documentation to the service, upon request. 

I want to take classes in May but I cannot get my updated medical documentation due to the COVID-19 closures. What do I do?

Multiple healthcare providers are now offering virtual appointments. Please connect with your current healthcare provider regarding this.

If you are seeing a healthcare provider at Health & Wellness within the University of Toronto, you will still be able to connect with them over the phone. Find more information about Health & Wellness appointments.

We recommend you schedule a phone or virtual appointment as we also consider your lived experience for accommodation planning. The service may be able to extend your accommodations until you are able to get the documentation. When you are able to submit your medical documentation, we will review your accommodation plan.  Students will be required to submit medical documentation to the service, upon request.  

 

I cannot get my medical documentation during the COVID-19 restrictions. I am not taking courses until September. What should I do?

Multiple healthcare providers are now offering virtual appointments. Please connect with your current healthcare provider regarding this.

If you are seeing a healthcare provider at Health & Wellness within the University of Toronto, you will still be able to connect with them over the phone. Find more information about Health & Wellness appointments.

You can follow up with us in June to schedule your renewal appointment. We recommend you do not wait until September due to the high volume of new students scheduling appointments.  Students will be required to submit medical documentation to the service, upon request.  

 

BSWD funding

How will online learning affect my BSWD funding/application?

If you have recently submitted a BSWD application (and are waiting for confirmation of approval), UTSC students with disabilities can check the status of your application and funding by going to the line online portal listed on the Enrollment Services Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities page.

If you are currently receiving BSWD funding for in-course supports/or other services, please connect with your Disability Consultant and Enrollment Services should you have any further questions about your BSWD funding.

 

How do I submit BSWD receipts?

BSWD receipts can be submitted by email to bswd.grants@utoronto.ca or by dropping the receipts in the drop box, located outside Enrolment Services, 172 St. George Street. Please ensure your name and student number are located on the receipts, as well as a standard cover sheet.  

A standard cover sheet to accompany your receipts is available from the Enrolment Services website.

Receipts will also be accepted as PDF from your University of Toronto email, please keep copies of your receipts for your records.

What can I do with unused BSWD funds?

Any unused bursary funds must be repaid by a money order, certified cheque or bank draft payable to the University of Toronto.

A copy of the money order, certified cheque or bank draft can be emailed to bswd.grants@utoronto.ca or drop off the money order, certified cheque or bank draft in the drop box located outside Enrolment Services. Please ensure your name and student number is located on the cheque/money order or bank draft.

Photocopies of your cheque/money order or bank draft will be accepted as PDF from your University of Toronto email, please keep copies for your records.
If you have recently submitted a BSWD application (and are waiting for confirmation of approval), you are encouraged to contact your accessibility advisor directly with any questions you may have. If you are currently receiving BSWD funding for in-course supports/or other services, please connect with your accessibility advisor and Enrolment Services should you have any further questions about your BSWD funding. Please note that the on-campus transportation funding will no longer be available. Please communicate with your accessibility advisor if you have further questions regarding this

 

Learning supports

I need guidance on getting started and writing my essay or written assignment. Is someone available to help me?

Are you having trouble getting started on your written assignment?  Are you struggling with organizing your thoughts to paper?  Do you need to talk through your written ideas to get started on your written work?

Supportive writing services are available through an online format.  If you would like to attend a session please follow these steps.

Please visit the Writing Support tutoring website to book a one-on-one appointment for writing support. 

 

 

What supports are available to help me transition to online learning?

Our office remains committed to helping you complete your term with as little disruption as possible. Download our new resource, Accessibility Resources for Students in Online Learning. This document discusses the transition from classroom to online learning for our students and provides tips, referral pathways and next steps.

What supports are available to help me transition to online testing?

Download the COVID-19 Response: Take Home Tests and Online Exams. This document discusses the transition from classroom to online testing for our students and provides tips, referral pathways and next steps.

Additional questions & concerns

What should I do if I am feeling sick?

Students should review COVID-19 Absence Declaration in ACORN  for the process to declare illness.  For more health and travel-related information and resources go to the University of Toronto Frequently Asked Questions.
 

Social Supports

I am feeling isolated, do you have any suggestions for me to connect virtually?

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic we continue to find creative ways to connect with students via online platforms and alternative formats.  Please visit the Student Affairs list of online programming available to students.

In a recent Op-ed in the Globe & Mail, Margaret Eaton, the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, highlights “The implication of the phrase “social distancing” is that we should be putting space between us socially – but we only need to be distancing ourselves physically. In other words, we should be social and participating in the community at large – just so long as it doesn’t require physical proximity.
Indeed, what people need most right now is social connection, because real connection is essential to our mental health. Studies have shown that social networks – which provide emotional support, companionship and opportunities for meaningful social engagement – have a beneficial effect on mental-health outcomes, stress reactions, psychological well-being and self-esteem.”
You can maintain social connections while being physically distance through a range of activities including:

  • UofT activities
  • Set up a ‘buddy system’ with someone to check in on you and socialize
  • Stay virtually connected through
  • Host a Netflix party
  • Virtual Museum/ Science Centre Tours 
  • Virtual Book Clubs (Can join one of these or you can start one with friends!)  

Resources

Health & Wellness Centre
Same-day mental health counselling by phone can be booked by calling or emailing:

My Student Support Program (MySSP)
For students who want to talk to a counsellor by phone or chat who understands the stresses of post-secondary students. This services is confidential and available 24/7/365 from anywhere in the world, in multiple languages                 

Good2Talk 
This helpline allows students to talk to a counsellor on the phone who understands the stresses of post-secondary students and is available 24/7/365. Call 1-866-925-5454

Disability Communities

Ability Online 
An safe online community for friendship, support and skill development opportunities for youth and young adults with disabilities/chronic illness, their friends and family.
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
Clients of SPIO can connect with peers with spinal cord injury in a safe and supportive online environment
CNIB Foundation   Tech It Out: Fun & Games (National) 
For Clients of CNIB April 8 – Fun & Games: Take a look at some of the free accessible games and apps available on ios and android devices, from dice world, audio game hub and more. Registration required

Other Resources

Big White Wall
I want an online safe and anonymous peer support community that is accessible anytime anywhere.      

CAMH Coping with Sress