Center for Wellness Resources for the Community

Resources during COVID-19 Response

Getting Through Social Isolation​

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Sharon Salzberg COVID-19 Resources

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Tips for Balance and Wellbeing While Working Remotely 

This is an unprecedented and uncertain time, causing many of us loneliness, frustration, and anxiety as we navigate a virtual workspace. While we navigate the coming weeks, it will be vital to take steps to care for ourselves while also being productive at work.  Some ways we can do this include: 

Establish a set workspace.   

A key to virtual work is setting up a workspace within your home.  Weather this is your kitchen island, dining room table, or a home office, this should be a space conducive to work, and removed from where you sleep and relax. Separating workspace from relax space can allow you to focus on being productive during work hours while “leaving work” at the end of the day.  Make sure you bring what you need to your workspace so when you sit down, you are ready to work. 

Setting a daily schedule and routine.   

Working remotely takes discipline and routine.  While there is more flexibility during the day, it is important to establish a routine to ensure your work is done productively.  Establish your work hours, set up virtual meetings when possible to interact with others besides over email.  A daily or weekly virtual staff meeting can bring everyone together to ensure work is on track. Create a daily to do list with goals for each day.  Build in time for lunch when you can step away from work and focus on self-care.  

Make self-care a priority. 

Virtual work can be isolating.  Good self-care can help us stay mentally and physically well.  Keep set bedtime and wake times, as adequate sleep is vital. Keep a morning routine, such as showering and clean clothes (even if those are sweatpants!), as this is important for mental wellbeing.  Make time each day to get outside and be active.  Physical activity, and time outdoors, are both incredibly important to both our physical and mental health.  Utilize your lunch hour to go for a walk, or start or end you day with a walk, a run, a virtual fitness class, or something active. Make time at night to connect with friends and family.  During social distancing this might be challenging, but get creative, use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and other technology to stay connected to others. 

Develop a childcare plan. 

For many employees, this pandemic has brought the added challenge of no childcare or school for children.  For those who live with partners, family members, roommates, who may also be working remotely, developing a plan will be vital.  Can one adult start the workday earlier while the other handles childcare and then swap with the second adult working afternoon and evenings? For those who are single parents, are there community resources you can access for assistance?  If it feels impossible to work and care for children at home, reach out to your supervisor and/or Human Resources to discuss your options.  

Most important, be patient and kind to yourself as you navigate this challenging time.  Reach out to ask for help from others if you are struggling. 

 

Article from Business Insider, "Stop shaming people for going outside. The risks are generally low, and the benefits are endless"

 

Services Available to you 

Center for Wellness 

  • Online and phone services are available for triage, case management, and general support at 617-989-4390 

  • For mental health crisis call Wentworth Public Safety at 617-989-4444 or 911 

  • After hours counseling phone service is still available by calling 617-989-4390 option #2 

  • Support groups are being offered online. Information regarding these groups can be found here 

  • Students needing Accessibility Services can contact 617-989-4390 to set up phone or Skype sessions. 

  • Here is a podcase by the Happiness Lab 

Library support 

  • You can request an online library instruction session here  

  • You can contact your reference librarians with any questions at ref@wit.edu   

  • Find more information about online resources in the Library & Online Learning Resources Guide here  

Center for Academic Excellence 

  • The CAE remains open virtually and is functioning remotely. For advising questions, contact advising@wit.edu and for tutoring questions, contact cae@wit.edu  

  • You can find online tutorials and learning resources here 

Tech Spot 

  • Support hours have been extended to 7:30am-7:30pm M-F over email through techspot@wit.edu or by phone at 617-989-4500 

 

Resources for Faculty and Staff

 

Campus Response to Preventing Suicide Training:

Click here for training

 
 

How to identify students in distress:

Students often seek help from faculty and staff when they are in need. Below are some guidelines on identifying students in distress and ways you can help.

Taken from Virginia Tech's Cook Counseling Center.

The following could be signs of a student in distress:

  • Excessive procrastination and very poorly prepared work, especially if inconsistent with previous work.
  • Infrequent class attendance with little or no work completed.
  • Dependency (e.g., the student who hangs around or makes excessive appointments during office hours).
  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or frequently falling asleep in class.
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene.
  • Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g., deadline extensions).
  • Threats to others.
  • Expressed suicidal thoughts (e.g., referring to suicide as a current option).
  • Excessive weight gain or loss.
  • Behavior which regularly interferes with effective class management.
  • Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive, or aggressive behavior.
  • Unable to make decisions despite your repeated efforts to clarify or encourage.
  • Bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate for the situation (e.g., talking to something/someone that is not present).
  • Students who appear overly nervous, tense or tearful. 

 

Here's How Faculty/Staff Can Help

Faculty guide for student behavior

  • Speak with the student in private.
  • Express concern. Be as specific as possible in stating your observations and reasons for concern.
  • Listen carefully to everything the student says.
  • Repeat the essence of what the student has told you so your attempts to understand are communicated.
  • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
  • Assess the situation and determine if the student may benefit from meeting with a Counselor. If so, refer the student to Counseling Services.

 

How to Make a Referral to Center for Wellness

  • If you are concerned about a student, please contact Center for Wellness so that staff may reach out to the student.
  • Encourage the student to call or visit our office to make an appointment. Provide the student with Center for Wellness contact information. If a student approaches you and expresses concern, you are welcome to contact our office with the student present. However, the student is responsible for scheduling an appointment with Center for Wellness directly.  Faculty or staff may not schedule an appointment for the student.
  • If you feel the situation is an emergency, please contact Center for Wellness immediately. In a crisis situation, it may be helpful to escort the student to our office.

Faculty Mini Workshops:

The Center for Wellness staff recognize the impact of student mental health on the classroom environment.  To better support faculty in their understanding and addressing these mental health issues in the classroom, the Center has developed mini educational workshops for faculty.

Center staff are available to attend academic department meetings and provide 10-15 minute overviews on specific wellness topics.  Faculty will receive some brief education as well as top tips for managing these issues within an academic setting.

Topics include:

  • Neurodiversity
  • Accessibility in the classroom 
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Anxiety 
  • Mental Health 101
  • Deescalation 
  • Mindfulness in the classroom 
  • Group Dynamics
  • The 7 dimensions of wellness
  • Sleep Hygiene

To schedule a mini workshop, please email the Center for Wellness at counseling@wit.edu or contact us by phone at 617-989-4390.

 

Guidance for Making Decisions about Attendance and Assignment Deadlines

Students diagnosed with chronic medical conditions that may impact attendance must register with Accessibility Services in order to receive assistance. Students may be required to submit documentation detailing changes in medical or disability status.  Students with attendance concerns should review all policies in advance and discuss anticipated issues with an academic advisor/course instructor. Students are responsible for contacting faculty at the start of each semester to determine the amount of time that can be missed without compromising the integrity of the course or program.

Instructors have the option to contact Accessibility Services for assistance with decision making about altering course policies or deadlines. With the students’ permission, Accessibility Services can verify disability status and assist faculty in determining whether or not attendance and deadlines are essential components of a course or program. Accessibility Services cannot mandate faculty to waive attendance or assignment deadline policies.

Course syllabi should include detailed attendance, assignment due dates, and participation guidelines. All students are expected to meet the attendance requirements and assignment deadlines established by individual instructors. Attendance policies are set by faculty in compliance with department, institutional, and/or accrediting agency mandates. Attendance requirements are determined by the expected level of participation in the class.

The following questions may be useful in determining whether or not attendance is an essential function of a course:

  1. What information does the course description or syllabus include attendance and assignment deadlines?
  2. Is attendance reflected in the final course grade?
  3. Are policies consistently applied?
  4. What, if any, allowances are made for non-disability related circumstances?
  5. How does contact between faculty and students relate to the goals and objectives of the course?
  6. How are student contributions essential to the classroom experience?
  7. How does student participation contribute to the learning process?
  8. How does individual student attendance impact the rest of the class? 

Accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Policy 

I. Effective Date    

TBD 

II. Policy Statement 

 As Wentworth Institute of Technology becomes more reliant on electronic Information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as Blackboard Learn, PeopleAdmin, Skype for Business, printers/scanners, computers/mobile devices, and course supplements such as Pearson My Labs, WebWork, iClicker, etc. it is essential that we consider the needs of all users prior to entering in to contracts with vendors. In addition to vetting products for quality, security, and appropriateness we must consider the accessibility and usability of these tools for faculty, staff, and students with disabilities.   The policy is not intended to contravene with the fulfillment of essential job functions or scholarly obligations.   

III. Reason for the policy  

Wentworth Institute of Technology adheres to the policies set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and as amended in the future which mandate equal opportunity in programs and activities for people with disabilities.  In addition, Wentworth Institute of Technology has a strategic initiative to engage, empower, and recruit a diverse community, specifically by committing to diversity as a business practice (O-5).  The purpose of the policy is to ensure purchasers of ICT are vetting products for accessibility prior to entering in to vendor contracts.   

IV. Scope  

Applies to all Wentworth Institute of Technology employees purchasing/renewing or approving the purchasing/renewing of  ICT for use by 10 or more people through the capital request process.  ICT for less than 10 users is not subject to this policy.  

V. Definitions  

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-- Law since 1990 that addresses civil rights of people with disabilities (PWD). Goal of the law is to ensure that PWD enjoy equal opportunities. Sections of the law address employment, purchasing of goods and services and participation in all levels of government activities. 

For more information, refer to https://www.ada.gov/ada_intro.htm 

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) -- an umbrella term that refers to all internet-enabled devices and systems, and additionally includes landline phones, smartphones, cloud computing, hardware and software and more. In the context of this policy it refers to any resource that the University uses to pursue its goals of teaching, informing and supporting electronically the students, staff and faculty. 

Person or People with a Disability (PWD) – an individual or a group of people who have one or more physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or two major life activities. 

Sometimes the term Individual with Disabilities (IWD) is used. 

Section 504- part of the US Federal Government Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based on disability in federally funded and federally conducted programs or activities in the United States.   

Section 508 -   part of the US Federal Government Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and recently updated in January 2018. The Act sets expectations of which standards must be adhered to when creating and purchasing ICT for Federal agencies. In addition to being the law for those agencies it is most likely to be mandated by state and local governments and by any organization who applies for and benefits from Federal funding.  

For more information, refer to https://www.section508.gov/content/learn  

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) 

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a document that may be generated by a vendor to indicate a product's conformance with the Section 508 accessibility standards.  In each VPAT, the vendor is expected to make specific statements using simple recommended language about how the features and functional characteristics of their product or service meet the Section 508 Standards.   

For more information, refer to https://www.itic.org/policy/accessibility/vpat     

VI. Responsible Office 

Primary: Finance, Business  

Secondary: Purchasing 

VII. Responsible Officer 

 Robert Totino, Vice President of Finance 

Dave Wahlstrom, Vice President for Business 

Thomas Kane, Director of Purchasing  

VIII. Revisions History 

 First version of policy-TBD 

IX. Recommended Review Frequency 

Annually, unless there are compelling reasons to do so more frequently. 

X. Who is governed by this Policy? 

Staff and Faculty who make capital requests to purchase or renew ICT for use by 10 or more people at Wentworth Institute of Technology.    

XI. Who should know this Policy? 

All staff and faculty who make capital requests to purchase or renew ICT for use by 10 or more people at Wentworth Institute of Technology should be made aware through departmental communications.    

Specifically, all Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Supervisors, and anyone else responsible for signing off on capital requests should be aware of the existence of the policy, its implications for their work and be included in updates to policy or guidelines as they occur. 

General users of the Wentworth Institute of Technology purchasing site should have the policy available to them via a link to a page where it will be posted. 

XII. Exclusions 

 ICT for use by less than 10 people does not need to be reviewed for accessibility.  People who wish to purchase or renew ICT for use by 10 or more people that does not meet accessibility standards may complete the ICT Exemption Request Form to petition for an exemption.      

XIII. Policy Text 

 In accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended, Information and Communication Technology developed, purchased, maintained, or used by Wentworth Institute of Technology must be accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 defines ICT to mean information technology and any equipment or system used in the creation, manipulation, management, movement, display or duplication of data or information. Examples of ICT Include but are not limited to hardware (computers, information kiosks, copy machines), software, websites, and multimedia products. 

Accessibility Vetting Process: 

1. Vendors complete the Accessibility Vetting Form and provide requested supporting documentation to the purchaser 

2. The purchaser submits the completed Accessible ICT vetting form and supporting documentation provided by the vendor to the supervisor/budget manager for approval 

3. If the product is approved for purchase, send signed vetting form and purchasing requisition to Purchasing. The following language must be included in the contract: 

[NAME] hereby warrants that any hardware or software products or services to be provided under this [agreement] comply with the accessibility requirements of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §794d), its implementing regulations set forth at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, part 1194, and if applicable to [NAME’s] products or services to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. [NAME] agrees to promptly respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services which is brought to its attention. [NAME] further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Wentworth Institute of Technology from any claim arising out of its failure to comply with the aforesaid requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements shall constitute a breach and be grounds for termination of this [agreement]. 

If the product is denied: 

A. Identify an alternative product for accessibility vetting 

OR 

B. Apply for an exemption via the Accessibility Exemption Request Form   

XIV. Sanctions  

Purchasers who do not comply with the accessible ICT policy and procedure (and exemption process where applicable) will not have the purchasing requisition approved.

XV. Forms   

Accessible ICT Vetting Form

Accessibility Exemption Request Form

 

Accessible Procurement Frequently Asked Questions

 

Accessibility Resources for Faculty and Staff