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Welcome to Disability Resources!

Promoting an equitable & inclusive learning environment by providing accommodations, empowering students to become self-advocates, & by educating the campus community.

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COVID-19 and Communicating with Disability Resources


Thank you for visiting the Disability Resources website. During the COVID-19 period, we remain committed to supporting access for the University of Minnesota Duluth community. Our staff are currently working remotely and our offices are closed.

Disability Resources staff are still available to consult on accessibility needs and connect students with disability accommodations. Virtual meetings are available via email, phone, Zoom or Google Hangout during normal business hours Monday - Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

To schedule your virtual appointment email, or call 218-726-6130 (please leave a message and we'll follow up).

What to Expect in Disability Resources This Fall - August 4, 2020

Disability Resources is excited to have students back on campus this fall!  Whether your courses are in-person, blended, remote, or online, accommodations will continue to be available and we’re looking forward to working with you to ensure you have access to your classes.

To make sure everyone can stay safe when visiting Disability Resources, this is what you can expect when visiting our area:

  1. If you are sick, or displaying any COVID symptoms, do not come to Disability Resources.  

  1. Face coverings are required.  We’re happy to schedule a meeting via Zoom or phone if you’re unable to meet this requirement.

  1. Please wait to enter a staff member’s office until you are invited in.  Disability Resources staff will be cleaning between each meeting, and we will need time to get our area ready for you to enter.  

  1. Meetings are limited to the student and the Disability Resources staff member only.   Office capacity cannot exceed two people at this time.  

  1. Please use hand sanitizer on your way in and out of the office.  Hand sanitizer will be available by the door to each staff office.

  1. Maintain at least 6 feet of distance when meeting, or waiting to meet, with Disability Resources staff.  Physical distancing reminders will be posted in our areas.

  1. Drop-in hours for the fall semester will be extended to allow for physical distancing and time for cleaning between each meeting.  Drop-in hours will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10am - 12pm, and 1pm - 3pm.   

Face Coverings

Beginning July 1, 2020, all University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) will be required to use a face covering to cover both the nose and mouth at all times when in any enclosed or indoor space on University campuses and properties (including leased facilities). 

Face coverings are also required in outdoor settings on the University campuses if safe physical distancing and gathering practices are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and gathering practices are being observed, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required. This directive shall remain in effect until further notice.

Disability Resources is available to explore alternative accommodations for students and guests who cannot wear face coverings because of health of disability reasons.   

  • Currently enrolled UMD students can begin the accommodation process by completing the Request for Accommodations Form.   

  • Students already affiliated with Disability Resources should contact their Disability Specialist to discuss disability-related concerns about this requirement.

  • Campus guests who cannot wear face coverings because of health of disability reasons should email Disability Resources at to explore alternative accommodations.

More information on campus safety and face coverings can be found at the UMD FAQ website.

Return to Campus

The University will resume in-person instruction and re-open residence halls, dining facilities, and other campus services for Fall 2020 semester in a manner consistent with public health guidelines. 

The University has developed a flexible framework to resume in-person instruction this Fall, with continuing options for robust remote learning. We are actively planning how Disability Resources will continue serving the University community in light of these decisions. We will post future updates here.


Student Resources

Request Disability Accommodations

    1. Submit the Request for Accommodations Form

      • Complete the Request for Accommodations Form online and provide any available documentation that indicates a history of a disability diagnosis. These steps will save you time later.

      • IMPORTANT: Please note that you should not delay meeting with us out of concern for not having the right paperwork. Each specialist will discuss specific third party documentation needs during the Welcome Meeting and steps you can take after the meeting. Our first priority is meeting with you, not reviewing the paperwork.

    1. Schedule a Welcome Meeting

      • You can email us, call, or visit our office at 258 Kirby Student Center to schedule an appointment. Appointments last approximately 45 – 60 minutes.

  1. Explore Options

    • During the Welcome Meeting, a Disability Specialist will chat with you about the barriers you are experiencing, reasonable accommodations to address the barriers and your next steps. Our goal is to keep the meeting relaxed and comfortable.

      Common Accommodations Available

      Listed below are the most commonly requested accommodations.

      Specific barriers to academic inclusion are discussed with students, and other accommodations may be provided on a case-by-case basis.

      • Test Accommodations
      • Reading Accommodations
      • Note Taking
      • Interpreting
      • Accessible Technology
      • Housing & Dining Accommodations

Managing Online Learning

  • Five Quick Tips for Online Learning

  1. Identify your study space. Where will you study best?
  2. Keep yourself on a schedule. When are you able to focus best?
  3. Remember to take breaks! Walk, stretch, or do something for fun.
  4. How will you track assignments and deadlines? Google calendar, phone reminders, to-do lists and planners are all great options.
  5. Turn off your phone or put it in another room while you’re studying. If you’re doing online coursework, only have tabs open for the course and any linked websites.

RedShelf and VitalSource are offering free access to digital textbooks in response to COVID-19 and the shift to online learning.

AIRA is a service that enables blind and low vision people to connect to a live agent who can assist with a variety of tasks. Using the camera on a smart phone the AIRA agent can assist the individual by reading inaccessible documents on a computer screen, read website content, describe images, etc. AIRA is offering college students free access through the end of the spring semester, email

    • Individual support and coaching is available to you from Disability Resources. Please contact your Disability Specialist to further discuss details specific to your need:



Faculty Resources

Access Reminders

    • Faculty are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations in online course environments.

    • Review previously received Letters of Accommodation for each student:

        • All exams scheduled in Disability Resources from March 16 through the end of the term will no longer be proctored in our area. For students using extended exam time, ensure that any exams offered in the online environment include the appropriate amount of extended exam time. Scroll to the bottom of the page for additional resources.
        • For students requiring accessible course media, all recorded lectures and videos must be captioned. Consider using Kaltura or Zoom to record lectures or broadcast class; both platforms include automatic captioning. Disability Resources is available to consult on other options for captioning recorded content.
        • Services such as ASL and live captioning take time to arrange. It may not be possible to hold a synchronous class in an accessible manner with very short notice (less than 3 days)
        • For students using note taking, consider assigning a student to take notes in Google docs or a similar platform and make them available to the entire class. If faculty wish to continue with the individually assigned note taker model currently implemented in your course, please advise Disability Resources so the note taker can be updated accordingly.
        • For students who require accessible print and visual materials, use only PDFs with OCR (optical character recognition). Also include image descriptions and alt text for all images and videos. Ensure that Powerpoint presentations are accessible to screen readers.

      • Check in with all students about their access needs in the online environment and refer to Disability Resources as appropriate. Students may not have disclosed access needs previously if the course was primarily in person. A student may now require screen reader access, reduced screen time, deadline extensions, live captions or other accessibility needs.

      • Consider offering flexibility with participation. Must a student participate during the regularly scheduled class time, or may discussion occur outside of class time?

      Disability Resources Frequently Asked Questions

      Is Disability Resources open

      Disability Resources has suspended all face-to-face services to allow staff to work remotely under the COVID-19 telecommuting guidelines from President Gabel.

      Disability Resources staff are still available to consult on accessibility needs and connect students with disability accommodations. Virtual meetings are available via email, phone, Zoom or Google Hangout during normal business hours Monday - Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.To schedule your virtual appointment email, or call 218-726-6130 (please leave a message and we'll follow up). If you're in need of information immediately, visit the Disability Resources website.

      Will exams be administered in person by Disability Resources?

      No. All exams scheduled in Disability Resources have been canceled and will need to be rescheduled or provided in the alternative instruction environment applicable for that course. We anticipate that changes in testing format, including online testing, might address typical accommodations, including those for students requiring additional time, a reduced distraction environment, and breaks during their exam.

      If an alternative assessment is required as a reasonable accommodation given alternative instruction, please contact the disability specialist listed on the student’s accommodation letter.

      How do I extend time on a Canvas quiz for students with extended time accommodations?

      How do I account for breaks in online exams?

      See “extend time on a Canvas quiz” link above.

      What if my student needs an exam accommodation that is not available in Canvas?

      Contact the disability specialist on the student’s accommodation letter to explore alternate ways to assess the student’s knowledge.

      Can real-time Zoom lectures be live captioned?

      Please contact Disability Resources at if you plan to offer real-time lectures for which real-time captioning is required as an accommodation. Our office will provide the student access to real-time captions (visible only to the student with the accommodation).

      How do I add captions to a video I'm distributing to my students?

      If you have a student in your class who has media captioning as an accommodation, follow the steps below:

        • Use Kaltura to record your video. This is currently the fastest and suggested way to get captioned materials to students: Visit the Teach Online page of this site, click on Record a Video for Students to Watch Online. By recording in Kaltura, Disability Resources will be able to caption videos in the most time-efficient manner.
        • Due to the large volume of videos/recorded courses, we need to receive these videos as soon as possible.
      • To proactively add captions to facilitate better access for all students:

      What will happen with students working with sign language interpreters and other access needs?

      We’re communicating directly with students who utilize accommodations such as sign language interpreters, document conversion, and access assistance and encouraging them to contact the Disability Resources to explore their access needs given the new alternative instruction directive.

      Referring Students to Disability Resources

      Disability Resources Responsibilities

      Disability Resources is responsible for the coordination of temporary accommodations due to exposure to COVID-19. Certain accommodations may require education about and coordination with auxiliary aids and services. Disability Resources will collaborate with campus departments and appropriate service providers to support faculty and students.

      Disability Resources is not responsible for:

      • Administering and proctoring online exams
      • Creating and administering online course material including course content, videos, Zoom or Kaltura
      • Determining if it might be appropriate to issue an ‘Incomplete’ for a course

      Disability Accommodations for UMD Employees

      Disability accommodations are available to UMD employees through UReturn. Please contact Nancy Erickson ( via email to request a confidential consultation.

      UMD offers all students, staff, and faculty a free copy of a program called Read and Write Gold. This program allows text to be read back across a variety of venues, including Office products, PDFs, email, and websites. Learn about its full range of capabilities, and access a download link (program is available for both Windows and Mac users) here:


      Recognizing Access at UMD

      Click the button below to nominate a staff or faculty member who has gone above & beyond with creating meaningful access at UMD!

      Recognize Access