Accessibility Services is offering a range of services remotely until further notice. In the current COVID-19 situation and in keeping with University and public health guidelines, we are not meeting students in person.
We are providing services using telephone and video conferencing technology. Although you will not be in the same room as your accessibility advisor, you will receive the same level of care as you would in an in-person session.
See below for policies regarding the use of phone calls, audio/video conferencing (MS Teams) and appointment cancellation.
- Use of phone calls and audio/video conferencing
The purpose of most telephone or video calls is to put academic accommodations and/or relevant services and support in place. Learn more information about the possible content of calls.
The appointment will take place over a secure network with high levels of encryption. Accessibility Services uses Microsoft Teams, which is specifically designed for protected video conferencing, and Communicator 7 for telephone calls, which complies with high standards of encryption. There are potential risks, as with many other types of technology, such as service interruptions and technical difficulties.
Accessibility Services only uses the call feature in Microsoft Teams to make audio/video calls to connect with students who prefer an MS Teams appointment over a regular phone meeting.
Microsoft Teams is part of your U of T Office 365 package and offers an audio/video conferencing platform for students, staff and faculty with a valid utoronto email address. You will need to download Microsoft Teams to your device to participate. Please log in and familiarize yourself with MS Teams. You can also download and read How to Use MS Teams (PDF) for assistance.
What to expect on MS Teams
- You will confirm the phone number and/or email address you wish to use for the appointment when the appointment is confirmed. You will also provide an alternate mode of communication (e.g. landline or a mobile phone number) in case the connection is lost.
- You will use a personal device for the session.
- You will ensure that you have access to high-speed internet for the duration of the appointment.
- You will remain at a fixed location (e.g. not a moving vehicle) throughout the appointment.
- Log in at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled meeting time with your accessibility advisor. They will call you at the start of your meeting time.
- Be aware of your physical surroundings. Ensure that you are in a private space for your session to prevent others from overhearing your conversation. All reasonable efforts will be made prior to the start of the session to confirm that you have access to a private (non-public) space for the duration of the appointment.
- Microsoft Teams has options to blur or change your background to ensure privacy of your space. Microsoft Teams also has other features, such as changing your display name and many accessibility features.
- If 15 minutes have passed since the start of the appointment and a connection can't be established (e.g. no response from student or technical difficulties), your accessibility advisor will attempt to reach you once on your preferred alternate mode of communication. If still unavailable, you will need to call the front desk to schedule a new appointment.
- During your appointment, Accessibility Services staff may share their screen with you or ask that you share your screen to better support you. Accessibility Services staff will make you aware of this prior to sharing.
- The chat function will not be used by either you or your accessibility advisor. Following the current meeting, your accessibility advisor will not be available over the chat or any other features of the application.
- Please do not send meeting invites to Accessibility Services staff directly through the calendar option in either MS Outlook or MS Teams. All future appointments to meet with the accessibility advisor must be booked through the front desk by calling 416-978-8060 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You are under no obligation to participate in video or audio conferencing. Your decision to participate or decline to participate will have no effect on your standing or your accommodations with Accessibility Services or on any official University outcomes.
- Either you or your accessibility advisor can discontinue the appointment if the teleconferencing is not adequate for the session(s). Your accessibility advisor can suggest alternate platforms for the session(s).
- You have the right to withhold or withdraw consent to the use of telephone/video calling at any time. You can withdraw consent by notifying the intake coordinator via email email@example.com.
- To protect your information, all University staff receiving information follow University policies and guidelines, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and other legal requirements.
- As with in-person sessions, the information collected during a teleconferencing appointment will be treated as confidential by Accessibility Services staff. No recording of the video or audio sessions will take place.
- All data collected will be stored, encrypted and protected through appropriate technical and process protections.
- The information from the virtual meetings will only be shared on a strict need-to-know basis with University officials who need it to do their work in the context of your accommodations.
- Appointment cancellation
Your scheduled appointment time is reserved just for you. Our advisors make every effort to be on time for scheduled appointments. In return, we ask that you help us by keeping your scheduled appointments and by notifying us in advance when you are no longer able to attend. When you give us advance notice, we are able to accommodate other students.
- Student appointments are triaged for urgency and screened to determine what, if anything, can be suitably arranged prior to an intake appointment.
- Students are required to provide 1 business day of notice (24 hours) for appointment cancellations (returning students and new intake registrations) so that we can provide the space to another student. For appointments on Monday, we will require notice no later than 8:30 a.m. that morning. Notice should be provided by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If students provide appropriate notice of cancellation, we will make every effort to arrange a new appointment as early as we are able to. If no notice is provided, students will generally not be prioritized for a new appointment. During busy periods of the year, this could potentially result in a wait of several weeks.
- Students are encouraged to login to MS Teams or be available on their phone at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment. If more than 15 minutes have passed since the start of your scheduled appointment, the appointment will likely need to be rescheduled. Connect with the front desk at 416-978-8060 to request a new MS Teams or phone appointment. This is to ensure that other students do not wait longer than necessary to speak with their advisor.
If you have any questions about these policies, please contact Accessibility Services at email@example.com or 416-978-8060.