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Field Work FAQ

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Q. FIELDWORK: How can a student with a health impairment manage fieldwork requirements?

A. Accommodations, if needed, can be negotiated between the instructor, the disabled student services office, and the student. Selecting a site that is close to the student's home to minimize the transportation requirements may be helpful. The student could also be given priority in fieldwork selection to help accommodate his needs. Extending the length of the fieldwork to allow participation on a part-time basis should also be considered.

Q. TRANSPORTATION: Who pays for accessible transportation to fieldwork sites?

A. Check with your disabled student services staff regarding your institution's policies. Generally, however, if students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the fieldwork sites, then the students with disabilities must also arrange their own transportation. If transportation is provided for the entire class, then the postsecondary institution is responsible for providing accessible transportation. Some postsecondary institutions have their own accessible vehicles, while others contract for this service with an outside provider.

Q. OVERNIGHT TRIPS: What if the fieldwork involves an overnight stay and the student needs a sign language interpreter?

A. An interpreter needs to be provided for the entire length of stay or fieldwork experience if that is what is needed for the student to fully participate. Arrangements should also be made to provide housing for the interpreters.

Q. PART-TIME FIELDWORK: If a student can only participate in her fieldwork for half-days due to a health impairment, what should I do to accommodate her needs?

A. One option may be for the student to participate in the half-day fieldwork and then extend the length of time needed to meet the requirements. Work with the student, the fieldwork supervisor, and the disabled student services counselor when determining fieldwork accommodations.

Q. WAIVING FIELDWORK REQUIREMENTS: Is it appropriate to waive fieldwork requirements for students with disabilities?

A. Postsecondary institutions must provide equal access to all academic and program essential requirements for students with disabilities. If a course or program is inaccessible, reasonable accommodations must be provided so that the student with a disability can fully participate. Fieldwork accommodations will vary based on the needs of each student, the fieldwork site, and the fieldwork requirements. Accommodations and activity alternatives should be considered. Developing an access and accommodation plan for fieldwork in cooperation with the student and disabled student services office may be an appropriate first priority. In general, waiver of the requirement is the least desirable alternative.

Q. SITE ACCESSIBILITY: Do I need to change my fieldwork arrangements if the site or the buildings are not wheelchair accessible?

A. You are not required to alter essential course requirements for a student with a disability. However, you should consider a different location, or find other ways to design your course so that it is accessible to all students. A reasonable accommodation can also be an alternative assignment for reaching course goals.

For answers to more questions, search the Knowledge Base.