One in eight students in England has declared at least one disability, however according to the Office of National Statistics report 21.8% of disabled people had a degree in 2019 compared to 28.0% of non-disabled people. In the wake of COVID-19, July 2020 United Kingdom’s government report found that disabled people were disproportionally impacted by the impacts of COVID-19 at a larger percentage than non-disabled individuals. Therefore, it is critical that universities provide the necessary support and advocacy for their disabled student body during and after COVID-19 is a thing of the past.
COVID-19 let many around the world unprepared and provided enhanced stress on disabled students with little support and time. From reduced control over their screen experience to prevent seizures, issues obtaining testing extensions, accessible coursework, getting accessible equipment, to the lack of socialization has disproportionately impacted disabled students. This includes helping students creating concrete achievable learning objectives for students with disabilities and communicating that with staff and faculty. As daily news of the COVID-19 vaccine shows promises of a back-to-normal future, it is imperative that disability offices provide support. As outlined in a Huffington Post U.K. article, Charli, a 19-year-old quoted in the piece says that there is now no excuse now for not supporting students, “Those of us who don’t feel safe going into in-person classes need to be properly considered. Disabled students cannot be an afterthought any longer.” In order to ensure that disabled U.K. students aren’t an afterthought, it is important to set up the mechanism to support them for the Spring semester and after COVID-19.
With Symplicity Access, educational institutions can effectively help with all of the necessary services students with disabilities and learning difficulties need on a fully new level. With our user-friendly platform, universities are able to simplify the delivery of reasonable adjustments to disabled students for a better user experience, higher accountability, compliance and transparency across the institution plus increased operational efficiency and savings for the university. Additionally, through its intuitive, mobile-friendly student interface, it’s easy for disabled students to find how they can get the support they need. This allows for effective communication among students, teachers, staff, and family members to ensure that disabled students whose academic coursework has been impacted by COVID-19 can get the critical support they need to succeed academically and beyond.