How to Navigate Online College Classes as a Student With Disabilities

Elva Mankin

As the fall semester begins and students head back to class, many are doing so virtually. Colleges are taking coronavirus prevention precautions, with hundreds opting for fully or partially online classes.

But what does the shift to online classes mean for students with disabilities?

To get a sense of what lies ahead, it may be useful to look back at the spring semester, when campuses closed and classes were suddenly shifted online, forcing students with disabilities to make quick adjustments.

Lessons Learned From the Spring Semester Online

One advantage that college officials have to plan for the fall is the ability to look back on the spring of COVID-19.

“Accommodations that had been approved for (face-to-face) communication were revisited, depending on the disabled students’ needs,” Mary Lee Vance, director of services for students with disabilities at California State University–Sacramento, wrote in an email.

While “not all students experienced a need

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Teachers Support Online Classes, Worry About Internet Access

Elva Mankin

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD — Teachers rejoiced when the school system announced that classes would be online until at least January. The Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, a local teachers union, voiced its support on Thursday.

“Our members have been very clear that they are most comfortable continuing to use and develop distance learning strategies,” union President Theresa Mitchell Dudley said in press release.

The teachers’ support comes the day after the school system said distance learning will continue until at least Jan. 29. Classes will start on Aug. 31.

Earlier this week, the state teachers’ union and PTA said they prefer to start the fall semester with virtual learning. Prince George’s County is the second in Maryland to commit to starting the school year online. Montgomery County was the first.

Prince George’s County schools have been closed since the state superintendent, Karen Salmon, shut down all Maryland public schools

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Trump administration drops plan to deport international students in online-only classes

Elva Mankin

Two of the country’s top universities won a major victory over the Trump administration on Tuesday, after the government agreed to halt its plan to deport international college students who only use online courses to study this fall.

The decision marks a stunning retreat for the Trump administration, which left schools and students reeling following a July 6 announcement that spurred lawsuits and condemnation from a growing list of states, schools, politicians, labor unions and tech sector giants. That included the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which announced it was “pleased that the Department of Homeland Security rescinded its ill-conceived policy regarding international students” following the decision.

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued both DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week, days after the government warned schools it would begin to reinstate tight restrictions on the number of online classes foreign students are allowed to take while

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Classes Will Be Online Until 2021, Prince George’s Schools Say

Elva Mankin

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD — Online classes will be the new norm in Prince George’s County. The school system said Wednesday that distance learning will continue until at least Jan. 29. Classes will start on Aug. 31.

The announcement comes a day after the state teachers’ union and PTA said they prefer to start the fall semester with virtual learning. Prince George’s County is the second in Maryland to commit to starting the school year online. Montgomery County was the first.

Prince George’s County schools have been closed since the state superintendent, Karen Salmon, shut down all Maryland public schools in March. The school system will remain closed until Salmon and Hogan indicate otherwise.

Prince George’s County continues to have the most coronavirus cases in the state, surpassing 20,000 infections on Wednesday. Nearly 700 county residents have died from the virus

“Prince George’s County Public Schools and our county is

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Trump administration drops rule barring foreign students from taking online-only classes

Elva Mankin

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s administration agreed Tuesday to rescind its controversial rule barring international students from living in the USA while taking fall classes online, a sharp reversal after the White House faced a slew of lawsuits challenging the policy.  

A Massachusetts judge announced the decision during a federal court hearing in a case filed last week by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Judge Allison Burroughs said the universities’ request for the court to block the rule was moot because the government agreed to rescind the policy. 

Monday, 18 state attorneys general had sued the Department of Homeland Security over the rule, which would have forced foreign students to leave or face deportation if they were enrolled in only online classes this fall, when experts fear expanded outbreaks of COVID-19 cases. 

An international student at Indiana University waits for a bus near the university on March 20, when classes first went online because of the pandemic.
An international student at Indiana University waits for a bus near the university on March 20,
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Universities scramble to protect students from deportation under new ICE policy requiring in-person classes

Elva Mankin

The Trump administration has thrown colleges and universities across the country into confusion this week with the unexpected announcement that international students will have to leave the U.S. if their school does not offer in-person classes during the upcoming semester. 

In a press release Monday afternoon, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that, under a forthcoming temporary rule, foreign students currently attending a school that plans to operate entirely online during the fall semester will either have to transfer to a different school offering in-person classes, leave the country voluntarily or face possible deportation.

In addition, ICE said the State Department “will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.”

Under normal circumstances, the U.S. does not grant student visas to people enrolled in online-only

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International students must leave USA if universities offer only online classes this fall

Elva Mankin

The Trump administration announced international students will have to leave the USA, or face possible deportation, if the college or university they attend switches to online-only classes in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, international students enrolled in colleges or universities offering only online courses this fall will be barred from entering the USA.

In the spring, international students were allowed to attend online-only classes. The reversal could be a major economic blow to colleges and universities, as well as  communities, over the loss of tuition and other revenue from international students who typically pay full price.

Related video: Colleges detail what it could look like when they reopen for fall 2020

Colleges and universities are implementing layoffs, furloughs and other cost-clotting measures to offset a loss in revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic as more people defer college.

US coronavirus map: Tracking the outbreak

The new policy, issued

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Foreign College Students Must Take In-Person Classes Or Face Deportation, ICE Says

Elva Mankin

International students studying in the U.S. must leave the country or switch schools if they attend a university that will hold classes entirely online this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, government officials said Monday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the measure as cases of the virus continue to surge in most states around the country and many colleges and universities are still figuring out how or if they can reopen for the fall term.

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” the agency said Monday, noting the shift applies to F-1 and M-1 visa holders. “If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”

The change will not impact international students who take classes

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