COVID-19 and Disability Access (updated as of 01/05/2021)

Happy Spring 2021! We want to reassure you that KOKUA will be open for business virtually and here for you as we navigate the challenges of this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic together. With health and safety at the forefront, we hope you find this Spring term to be engaging, memorable and full of excellent learning. Please continue to monitor the University of Hawaiʻi's Important Information: COVID-19 website for updated information.

KOKUA students, please connect with your respective KOKUA Counselor to discuss your unique disability-related needs for the Spring 2021 term. To ensure timely services, speak with your Counselor to complete your Service Agreement Form (SAF) to make term-specific service requests.

We warmly remind our campus partners to consider disability access and universal design for all of your Spring courses, programs, and services. Prudent planning can ensure that all students feel welcome and included in your course/program, and will significantly reduce the amount of time and resources needed to retrofit and remediate inaccessible portions of your course/program/services.

FAQs

Is KOKUA open?

At this time, the KOKUA office will remain closed to the public and will only be open for in-person exams. We are committed to doing our part to maximize student and staff safety. 100% of prescreens, intake and regular appointments with KOKUA staff will continue to be via Zoom or by phone. KOKUA staff are also available via their respective email addresses. General questions can be sent to kokua@hawaii.edu.

We are preparing KOKUA’s office operations for the Spring semester. KOKUA will be sending out information to KOKUA students regarding our commitment to keeping the KOKUA Program office healthy and safe, as well as our expectations of others to ensure health and safety when visiting the office.

We gently ask for your grace, flexibility and understanding. KOKUA continues to serve a high volume of students and this has been compounded by the recent sweep of 2 of our staff positions.

I am new to Mānoa and/or KOKUA and would like to establish services with the disability office. How do I do this?

Please contact us via kokua@hawaii.edu to register with our office and to set up an intake appointment.

I am already a KOKUA student and want to request Spring 2021 services. How do I do this?

Well in advance of the Spring term, please connect with your KOKUA Counselor by email and we will work with you to fill out a Service Agreement Form (SAF) for the Spring term. KOKUA Counselors (Sheryl, Malia, Rachel and Vanessa) can schedule you for phone or Zoom appointments during office hours.

Student: Due to my disability, I think I will have difficulty wearing a face-covering on campus. What should I do?

The University of Hawaii is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for students, employees, and visitors. Further, the University is committed to making all of its programs and services accessible to our community members with disabilities.

Members of the University community with a disability or medical condition may request accommodations from the University if they feel their condition affects their ability to wear a face covering. The University will engage in the interactive process with the goal of creating equal access. Any accommodation provided by the University should not put other individuals at risk. Those with particular needs for accommodations and prior to arriving on campus, please contact KOKUA and participate in our student intake process.

Faculty: How do I know if my student needs disability accommodations online?

KOKUA sends “faculty liaison” letters on behalf of students who request them, regardless of the format of the course (e.g., F2F, online, hybrid, etc.). Students are encouraged to request services prior to the start of the semester so that these letters are sent early, but it is not uncommon that students connect with KOKUA after the semester begins. Application of accommodations should be made within a reasonable timeframe.

Please feel free to speak with your student’s KOKUA Counselor if you have questions or need assistance. Additionally, please let KOKUA know if there are unique aspects of your course that may create disability-related barriers or implications so that we can partner with you and the student to address them.

It is important to have a clear accessibility statement on your syllabus and to assist with referring students to KOKUA if they are in need of disability-related accommodations. Please encourage them to contact KOKUA to discuss their situation and to determine if accommodations are appropriate on the basis of disability. Please visit KOKUA’s website to learn more about Faculty and Staff Responsibilities.

Faculty: How do I accommodate students with disabilities online?

Disability accommodations must be considered case-by-case; however, universal design in an online course is much more effective and efficient when it is considered at the front end of designing a course because appropriate planning can significantly reduce the amount of time and resources needed to retrofit/remediate a course.

Accessibility at UH and UH Online Innovation Center Accessibility Resources provides recommendations and training videos on creating accessible online materials to help develop documents that are compatible with text-to-speech software, as well as guidelines on providing accessible videos and images with appropriate captions and tags.

Guidelines for getting started on designing an accessible online course or website, are available via University of Washington's DO-IT Program 20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course and 30 Web Accessibility Tips.

Is KOKUA still proctoring exams?

Yes. For students who have filled out a term-specific Service Agreement Form (SAF), KOKUA is receiving exam requests for in-person Spring 2021 exam accommodations. Exam conditions and exam modality (in-person, online) for students with disabilities should mirror how it is being administered for other students. KOKUA students do not need to make individual requests for online exams unless there are unique circumstances where additional assistance/accommodations, beyond applying a time extension, is necessary.

KOKUA’s existing Exam Procedures and Policies are in effect, with some COVID-related modifications to ensure the health and safety of all those in the KOKUA office. KOKUA staff will open the office to proctor scheduled accommodated exams. Exam takers can expect a strong enforcement of social distancing, the requirement of face coverings and a temperature check before starting exams, regularly sanitized and private exam rooms, and a limited number of exam takers at a time.

If students or instructors have questions or concerns regarding exam accommodations and logistics (i.e., setting appropriate length of time extensions, managing time conflicts with other exams, providing a distraction-reduced online setting, establishing fair, reasonable and equitable proctoring processes, making exams accessible for specific disability needs, etc.), they should contact KOKUA at least one week ahead.

Faculty: How do I extend the exam time limit for a specific student on Laulima?

Extending the time limit for certain students in Laulima’s Tests & Quizzes tool can be done from within the test's settings in the “Exceptions to Time Limit and Delivery Date” section. This link will take you to the tutorial page in Laulima's Help menu to help guide you through the process:

How do I give specific students different time or date settings for an assessment?

Please contact KOKUA's Exam Coordinator for any assistance with this process.