Message to the faculty regarding spring medical accommodations

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MEMORANDUM

To: All professors, graduate student instructors, deans, department chairs / directors, and GPDs

FROM: John McCarthy, President and Principal Vice-Chancellor

DATE: November 12, 2021

SUBJECT: Spring 2022 medical accommodation requests – December 3 deadline

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Dear colleagues,

I am grateful to each of you for the role you have played in helping to keep our campus safe and healthy throughout this past semester. Our return to face-to-face instruction was successful in large part thanks to your individual action such as vaccination, wearing a face mask and adhering to public health protocols. Data from the Center for Public Health Promotion (PHPC) reflects a consistently low rate of positive cases on our campus and that no instructor has tested positive as a result of classroom exposure.

We continue to expect students to have in-person classes for the vast majority of their classes. Distance learning accommodations that were approved for the fall semester 2021 will expire. Any new or maintained accommodation will require an application for the spring semester 2022 following the same process as that used for the fall semester. With the increase in vaccinations, booster shots, low positivity rates and the availability of vaccination for some children under 12, the housing needs related to the pandemic have decreased.

Requests for medical accommodations – Deadline of December 3, 2021

Professors and graduate students looking for accommodation for their own health condition should complete the application form here. Professors’ requests will be assessed by the Accessible Workplace Office of the Equal Opportunities and Access Office. Applications from graduate employees will be assessed by Services for Persons with Disabilities. These offices will collect the necessary medical documents, engage the requesting party in an interactive dialogue, and consult with the relevant department and / or college about the request. Decisions about medical accommodations will be reviewed in light of the underlying medical condition and the availability of reasonable accommodations. Accommodations for instructors whose household members are at high risk of serious illness from Covid-19 will require proof that the household member is not attending school, daycare or otherwise exposed to places of gathering.

Accommodation requests must be submitted by December 3, 2021. In the absence of a substantial change in individual circumstances or public health conditions, no late application will be accepted. This deadline is essential to ensure that all applications receive sufficient attention and to allow for the transfer of responsibilities if necessary and the coverage organized to ensure a strong on-campus learning experience for our students.

We continue to be encouraged by the declining trend in the COVID-19 positivity rate as well as the high vaccination rate on campus. As previously stated, if you have already been approved for accommodation for the fall semester 2021, your accommodation will expire. You must complete an accommodation request before the deadline of December 3, 2021 so that it can be assessed for the spring semester 2022.

Options for teaching a course if approved for medical accommodation

Faculty members and graduate teaching associates who are approved for medical accommodation enabling distance education should consult with their department regarding course delivery. The available options include, but are not limited to:

  • Synchronously stream lectures to class assigned to class while students attend class in person
  • Teach synchronous online conference with in-person discussion sections managed by TAs (if applicable)
  • Fully synchronized online courses
  • Asynchronous recorded lessons with other synchronous activities scheduled for students.

As always, faculty and graduate student instructors can work with the Teaching and Learning Center and the Instructional Design, Engagement, and Support (IDEAS) group to gain additional assistance on teaching modality options.

Questions regarding the accommodation process can be directed to [email protected]

Please take care of your health and safety as we continue to provide our students with the world-class residential and educational experience they have come to expect at UMass Amherst.


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