Studies have shown that a significant portion of people with coronavirus lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This is why wearing a mask is an important safety step we can take to protect others. Because the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—speaking, coughing or sneezing—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State guidance, and City of Akron Ordinance recommends wearing cloth face coverings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain and it is required under University guidelines.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on disability. The University may not discriminate against students who are qualified and are able to perform its essential functions, with or without accommodation. The ADA requires the University to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. The ADA creates an exception for not providing accommodations which may pose a direct threat to others. A direct threat is defined as a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of that student or others, which cannot be eliminated or reduced by a reasonable accommodation.
The University, in an attempt to accommodate students seeking an accommodation have created online classes to accommodate these needs. Due to the current progression of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the increase in state and local cases, and the University’s obligation to maintain the health and safety of the campus community, the exemption of wearing a face covering will generally be resolved by having a student enroll in online classes. Section 35.139 (a) of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act “…does not require a public entity to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, programs, or activities of that public entity when that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.” Permitting students to attend classes without a mask may pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
Students with COVID-19 related accommodation requests should complete the registration process outlined below, and each case will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine what accommodation is appropriate for the safety of the requester and students and faculty on campus. Students with disability related impacts that interfere with the mandatory masking policy, are encouraged to enroll in the online sections of courses (designated as “www site”), when possible. It is important students consult with their advisor in this process. Students may have to take a different course that ensures progress in their program of study in an online format. If the student has a lab or needs to take tests in person, an appropriate accommodation will be determined, that ensures everyone’s safety.
Please follow the steps below in order to complete the registration process. Please be aware that in order to be considered for services through the Office of Accessibility, you must complete the online Registration process.
The Office of Accessibility must receive documentation of a diagnosed disability submitted electronically. Please visit our website at http://uakron.edu/access and select “Register with the Office” on the right side of the page to begin.
- This will prompt you to complete the Student Application for Registration which is a brief online questionnaire designed for students to describe the impact(s) of a disability.
- After completing the application, you will be prompted to submit your disability-related documentation (completed by a qualified professional) electronically on the website. The Office of Accessibility has specific documentation guideline forms available online at https://uakron.edu/access/forms or in Simmons Hall 105.
- Once a new student application has been reviewed, including complete documentation, an Office of Accessibility staff member will follow-up with the student to schedule an intake appointment. If any information in the application is incomplete, a staff member will contact you via email to address what is needed. An intake appointment is designed to discuss:
- Services a student is eligible to receive based upon the documentation submitted
- Disability-related needs
- Preparations for attending college
- Introduction to the online accommodation request system (Students are welcome to bring a support person (parent, guardian, spouse, case manager, etc.) to the intake appointment.)