Student Accessibility Services offers mask accommodations for differently-abled students


Symiah Dorsey/The Lion's Roar

Clear masks and face shields are available through the Office of Student Accessibility Services in Tinsley Hall. Students must provide documentation of a disability in order to receive a Face Covering Exemption Card

With the recent university mandates, differently-abled students may have issues navigating campus and their classes. Due to certain health conditions, wearing a face mask for long periods of time could pose difficulties for some students.

The university has released a Face Mask/Coverings Exemption Policy that details what will be done in light of these issues. The policy covers the process students would complete to receive accommodations.

“If a student cannot wear a face mask due to a valid health issue or disability, the student is to wear a face shield,” stated the university website. “Face shields are available in the Student Accessibility Services Office located in Tinsley Hall, Room 102.”

Samantha Ricau, assistant director of Student Accessibility Services, further detailed the process that students will go through if they require accommodations.

“They are to first contact the individual academic departments of the classes they wish to enroll in regarding online class availability,” said Ricau. “Student Accessibility Services cannot create or edit classes ourselves.”

Clear masks will be provided to students who are deaf and/or hard-of-hearing and their instructors on a limited basis.

“The student can come by our office in Tinsley Hall, Room 102, and pick up a clear mask for the student and their professors while we have clear masks available,” stated Ricau.

Ricau also explained that a Face Covering Exemption Card will be available to students who qualify.

“If online—remote—classes can’t be acquired, the student must submit documentation of their disability to Student Accessibility Services,” said Ricau. “Our office will then review the documentation and determine if the student qualifies for a Face Covering Exemption Card that is to be worn on a lanyard around the student’s neck.”

Ricau expressed that the fall semester is generally a busy time for the office.

“Fall is always a very busy semester for our office, in particular, due to the large number of incoming freshmen students needing to register with our office and students who are already registered with our office requesting accommodations for the semester,” explained Ricau.

However, Ricau emphasized that Student Accessibility Services will do its best to accommodate any student in need of assistance.

“When you add COVID-19 related issues such as mask exemptions or immunocompromisation concerns, it can be very overwhelming at times,” expressed Ricau. “But our office has worked very hard to accommodate every student to the best of our ability.”

The face mask policy can be found at the university website.