Student assistance still available despite transition to online instruction


Photo credit: Jeremy Stanton

Ellen Frantz, Staff Writer

Although classes at Marywood University have transitioned to online instruction until the end of the semester, Student Disability Services is working to ensure every student has the same resources available remotely that they had on campus.

Although certain accommodations such as special seating, short breaks and accessible workstations can not be made at home, students with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, learning disabilities and hearing and seeing impairment can still receive the help they need with their school work, according to Director of Student Disability Services Kaitlin Anderle

Anderle said she has reached out to every professor at Marywood to confirm their course transitions can accommodate any students who may need assistance.

“I wanted to make sure that they were reminded of the fact that these students have accommodations,” said Anderle. “They might not have utilized them before. They might not have decided to take their exams in our office or maybe that class wasn’t challenging. I think now with things being online, some students are going to need to utilize their accommodations.”

Anderle said new disabilities have arisen that could affect the work of students due to the stressful situation they are in.

“We do have new students coming that didn’t have accommodations prior and are now receiving accommodations due to heightened anxiety that can be really debilitating,” said Anderle.

Although students aren’t in their usual classroom setting, accommodations such as extra time for tests, use of calculators, spell-checkers and advanced notice of long reading assignments are still allowed. Students can also ask Student Disability Services for notes in certain classes they are struggling with.

Another Marywood department working remotely to help meet students’ needs is the Academic Progress Office. Although there are no students on campus, their office has offered many virtual ways to assist needs a student may have.

Assistant Director of Retention and Advising Antonia Cerda-Bevan says the main goal of the Academic Progress Office right now is to help students with the online transition, especially now that it is time to schedule classes for the fall 2020 semester.

“We sent different notices out to students in an email saying ‘These are the steps on how to contact your advisor’ if they weren’t sure,” said Cerda-Bevan. “We did a student pop-in live session last Friday to help students who needed any type of help with registration. We wanted to make sure we were still available in that virtual setting so those students know that they had a place to go.”

The Academic Progress Office is continuing to work alongside counseling services, tutoring, writing assistance and disability services to help refer students in need.

In the coming weeks, the office plans on hosting presentations and virtual open-floor sessions once they have a better understanding of specific needs and concerns regarding the pandemic and transition online.

“If any student is feeling they aren’t getting any needs met at this time, we are making sure we are addressing that as quickly as we can,” said Cerda-Bevan.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Twitter: @EllenFrantzTWW