Disability Services Supports Students Virtually

Columbia Health
April 26, 2021

This article refers to business hours for Spring 2021. For current hours for Disability Services and all other Health Units, please refer to our home page or Unit landing pages.

On March 15, 2020, Columbia Health rapidly moved to a virtual service delivery model in light of public health measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and to protect providers and students.

Disability Services (DS), which facilitates equal access for students with all kinds of disabilities by coordinating accommodations and support services, began offering all of its support services virtually that same day. Students with disabilities who require academic, housing, or virtual event accommodations or students without disabilities who would like to consult with our specialists can reach out to Disability Services, regardless of their location by emailing [email protected] or calling 212-854-2388.


As instruction has moved online, DS is not proctoring in-person exams for Summer 2021.


Daily drop-in hours are available for quick support

Disability Services (DS) offers drop-in hours according to the schedule posted below. DS drop-in hours allow for an individual 15-minute discussion between a DS staff member and a student with a quick or urgent question. Students not yet known to DS as well those already registered are invited to contact DS during drop-in hours.

Common reasons for a student not yet known to DS to contact us during drop-in hours may include questions about how to register with Disability Services, to learn more about services and accommodations offered by DS, or if you suspect that you might have a disability or were referred to meet with DS staff and are wondering about next best steps.

For students already registered, drop-in hours may be helpful for quick questions around your exam, note-taking, or housing accommodations, to discuss exam rescheduling due to a class conflict, or if you’re having difficulty arranging for accommodations with a professor, teaching assistant (TA), or for a class.

To speak with a DS staff member during drop-in hours

As a result of precautions to contain COVID-19, drop-in hours will continue to be held virtually for the Fall 2021 semester. To attend drop-in hours virtually, simply call 212-854-2388 or email [email protected] during the hours noted below. 

When you call, an administrative staff member will ask for your name, phone number, as well as your reason for calling and will share this message with the staff member holding drop-in hours.

If you opt to email, add “drop-in” to your subject line and in the body of the email, include your name, phone number, and reason for wishing to speak with the staff member holding drop-in hours. 

Whether you schedule by call or email, the staff member holding drop-in hours will then call you back within the drop-in period. 

If you are unable to attend drop-in hours due to an academic conflict or time zone constraints, please know we will be happy to schedule a mutually agreeable appointment outside of drop-in hours. To do so, please contact us at [email protected] with your availability. Do let us know if it is a time-sensitive matter when you provide your availability. We will do our best to accommodate your time preference should it be outside of regular business hours (EST 9AM-5PM).

For Spring 2022, drop-in hours will be held from Monday, January 10 through Thursday, May 5 during the following hours (EST):

  • Mondays: 1pm-3pm
  • Tuesdays: 9am-11am
  • Wednesdays: 2pm-4pm
  • Thursdays: 2pm-4pm
  • Fridays: 10am-12pm

 There will be no drop-in hours on 1/17, 3/14, 3/15, 3/16, 3/17 and 3/18.

You can still register for accommodations for this semester, or the next

DS works with students with all kinds of disabilities such as learning disabilities, ADHD, chronic medical or mental health conditions, sensory/physical disabilities, or temporary injuries. As these conditions may occur or manifest at any time during the year, we encourage you to register as soon as possible.

If you do not have a disability but are experiencing academic difficulties related to attention issues or learning challenges and would like to consult with our staff, please email us at [email protected]. If you are ready to apply for accommodations, please fill out this form.

DS can support a majority of academic accommodations in a remote learning environment, as well as virtual event accommodations

Despite classes being held online, DS can provide test accommodations, e-text, note-taking, sign language interpretation, foreign language substitution, learning specialist sessions, CART, and captioning.

Students participating in a virtual event organized by a Columbia affiliate should contact DS at least 10 days prior to an event to arrange for accommodations.

Faculty members can also consult with DS for questions regarding academic accommodations, accessibility of their curriculum, if they believe student has a disability, or other related issues.

The team at DS remains available to support the needs of students with disabilities whether they are on campus or off to ensure equal access to the academic and co-curricular experiences at Columbia University