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Disability Support Services

Accommodations Requests

Due to the ongoing pandemic, intakes for students needing services, returning students with DSS needs and consultations with faculty for accommodation implementation are handled by email, phone and Zoom meetings.

Students requesting DSS services or faculty with questions regarding the implementation of accommodations outlined on the Instructional Accommodation Plan (IAP) should email Heather Atkinson, for the Chester campus or Mark Miller for the Midlothian campus. They will contact the student to determine if the intake should by handled via phone or Zoom.

DSS Intake Form

Testing Accommodations and Procedures

Students utilizing their testing accommodations approved on their IAPs should contact Ontaya Jenkins on the Chester campus or Ben Rogers on the Midlothian campus. They will determine, in consultation with the student and the faculty member, if on-campus testing is needed through DSS. If on-campus testing is needed in order for students to receive testing accommodations, students and the DSS counselors will determine the testing locations needed. They will coordinate a time and location to meet for testing. The DSS counselors will ensure students understand all of the safety protocols before coming to campus.

The following safety protocols are required in cases when on-campus testing with DSS is needed.

  • Students are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth during the entirety of their time on campus and during testing.
  • Either medical masks or cloth face coverings are acceptable as long as they meet CDC mask-type recommendations. If a student is not wearing a mask, a disposable mask will be provided, and the student must immediately begin wearing it.
  • Any student who refuses to wear a mask will not be allowed to test and DSS staff will contact the faculty member to discuss rescheduling options. The student will be required to leave campus and the Assistant Director of College Safety and Security and the Dean of Students will be notified.
  • The college may grant exceptions to individuals who have a health condition in which a face covering would pose a danger. Requests for such an exception must be made, in writing or by completing the form below, to the Dean of Students Sandra Kirkland prior to coming to campus. Additional documentation may be required for the review. Sandra Kirkland will provide, in writing, a final decision on the request. If a student’s exception is approved a face shield will be required. Exception to the Face Covering/Mask Policy Form
  • DSS staff proctoring tests and the students testing will sign in and out of the testing location.
  • DSS staff will have access to masks, gloves and sanitizing materials. All DSS staff will be required to wear a mask.
  • DSS staff will clean the testing area in addition to the computer keyboard and mouse before and after each testing session.


John Tyler Community College has an institutional commitment to serving students with disabilities and to assisting those students in pursuit of their education beyond high school.

To support this commitment:

  • The College has designated a counselor as a disabilities support services specialist at each campus.
  • The College’s campuses and physical environment are fully accessible.

Support services available:

  • Testing accommodations to include placement testing
  • Instructional accommodation plans
  • Consultation services for faculty and staff
  • Assistance with registration
  • Career counseling
  • Books in alternate format
  • Assistive technology
  • Free access to Kurzweil 3000, an educational technology tool that reading assistance, comprehension support, and support for improving writing and test-taking skills

Differences between high school and college

As students make the transition from high school to college, it is important to recognize the significant differences between the two education levels.

By law, Virginia public high schools guarantee all students an education through age 21 or graduation with a regular diploma. Schools are required to screen and evaluate students who may have a disability. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be developed for any student identified as having a disability, and schools must provide appropriate fundamental services and accommodations to meet that student’s needs.

While they are not guaranteed an education at a college, students cannot be discriminated against. Colleges are not obligated to screen or evaluate students for possible disabilities. Students are responsible for providing documentation, when requested, to the College’s disability support specialists, and colleges must provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities.

Taking a lead role

Self-advocacy is key for any student entering college. Students are encouraged to articulate their needs. Doing so will help students gain confidence, assist them in taking responsibility for their college choices, and help them realistically plan for their futures. Family members can help with the transition by offering support and encouragement.

The student’s obligations

A student with a disability has an obligation to:

  • Identify and disclose their need for accommodations to the Disability Support Services (DSS) professional counselor. Students should submit the DSS Intake Form to initiate their request for accommodations.
  • If needed, provide documentation that supports the request for accommodations at least 30 days prior to the need for accommodations.
  • Communicate with the DSS professional counselor to complete an intake interview.
  • Provide their instructional accommodation plan (IAP), which outlines accommodations established through the intake, to faculty and staff to initiate use of accommodations.
  • If disability-related support or assistance is needed, contact the DSS professional counselor.

The College’s obligation

Under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the College has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations in order to afford the student an equal opportunity to participate in the college’s programs, courses and activities.

Initiate Disability Support Services

To initiate Disability Support Services please fill out the DSS Intake Form.

Once your DSS Intake form has been submitted, a professional counselor will contact you to schedule an intake.  If you need assistance filling out the form, please contact one of the professional counselors listed below.

Testing Services Provided by Disability Support Services

To request a reservation to take a proctored test with Disability Support Services using your accommodations, please submit the Proctored Test Reservation Form.

Students who currently have approved accommodations through DSS and would like to request a copy of their Instructional Accommodation Plan (IAP) for the upcoming academic year, can make that request by filling out the Updated IAP Request Form.

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

Service Animals

Service Animal: a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind; alerting people who are deaf; pulling a wheelchair; alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure; reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications; calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack; or performing other duties. Service Animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals under the ADA.

The student (handler) or individual (handler) is not required to register a service animal with the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office nor may the College require documentation for review by the DSS office before the dog is allowed on campus. An individual with a service animal is not required to obtain permission to bring the service dog on campus. Service dogs are not designated on the student’s Instructional Accommodation Plan (IAP). Students who have service animals may or may not have other accommodations.

When a student appears with a service animal, the college may ask only two questions:

1.)  Is the dog required because of a disability?

2.) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

These are the only two questions that may be asked. The college may not inquire as to the nature of the student’s disability. The College may not attempt to verify or confirm that the animal performs the service indicated by the student (handler).

The student (handler) or individual (handler) is expected to maintain control of the animal at all times. If the presence of a service animal causes a disruption, please call the DSS office on either campus as soon as possible to enlist their assistance in resolving the matter.

If there are any other problems or concerns about having a service animal present-i.e. allergies or fear of the animal- please contact one of the DSS professional counselors on either campus as soon as possible for their assistance in resolving the matter.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): an animal that provides emotional or other support that mitigates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. An ESA is not a Service Animal and thus not entitled to the same privileges as Service Animals. For example, the companionship of a dog may reduce the anxiety level of a war veteran empowering the veteran to attend college. ESAs are not trained to perform a specific task.

Emotional Support Animals (“ESA”) are not service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and John Tyler Community College (JTCC) may deny ESA/pets on campus.  JTCC shall treat any ESA request as an accommodation request under ADA guidelines and determine whether it is reasonable.  As with all accommodation requests, the JTCC DSS office will engage in an interactive process with the student making the request.

An individual who wishes to bring an ESA to campus must obtain approval through the College’s DSS office on either campus and, if approved, the ESA accommodation must be listed on the student’s Instructional Accommodation Plan (IAP). The IAP must be presented to the instructor before the ESA will be allowed in the classroom.

As with a service animal, the student (handler) is expected to maintain control of the ESA at all times. If the presence of the animal causes a disruption, or if there are other concerns, contact the DSS office at either campus as soon as possible for assistance in resolving the matter.

See the Policy and the Disabilities Support Services Handbook for additional information.


For more information:

Heather Atkinson
Professional Counselor and Disability Support Specialist
Chester Campus, Moyar Hall, Room M107
Hours of availability by phone and email: Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm

Dr. Mark Miller
Professional Counselor and Disability Support Specialist

Midlothian Campus, T Building, Room T115

Hours of availability by phone and email: Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm


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