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UCLA Center for Accessible Education

Dear CAE Student,

We know the transition to the remote learning environment has resulted in many questions and additional stressors for students. The CAE is committed to helping you stay connected to the University as courses transition to a remote learning environment. Given the changes for the Spring 2020 quarter, we want to assure you that you still have open access to a CAE counselor, resources, and services. While our office is currently closed for in-person meetings, we have created multiple pathways for you to engage with the CAE, so that we may continue to support you.

Please review the various ways to stay in touch:

  • Your CAE counselor is available by email Monday-Friday, 8-5pm.
  • You can also fill out the Contact the CAE Department form to request a virtual or phone advising appointment with your CAE counselor.
  • All students can submit their inquiries to the CAE office by completing the Contact the CAE Department.
  • The CAE is frequently updating Spring Quarter information regarding our available services. Please continue to review the CAE Student Newsletter & COVID-19: Spring 2020 Goes Remote for ongoing updates. Please note: many of the updates found on the Newsletter are more relevant to undergraduate students.

Please take a few minutes to review this answers to frequently asked questions related to accommodations in the remote learning environment:

I am approved for exam accommodations. How are these being provided at the Med School?

Normally, med students approved through the CAE for testing accommodations are to email the CAE Testing Office with a list of their upcoming exams. However, during this temporary period of online instruction, the new procedures will vary by what year you are in, as follows:

For MS1 and MS2 students:
Please contact the Office of Curricular affairs, at to coordinate your accommodations.

For MS3 students:
NBME exams will be administered remotely and proctored by DGSOM.Please contact Gezelle Miller,Clinical Clerkship Counselor & Scheduling Coordinator, at or 310-825-3848; or Bryan Neal, APC Coordinator, at

If you have questions about any other exam accommodations or about your accommodations in general, please contact your CAE disability specialist as soon as possible to discuss further.

I’m approved for a distraction-reduced exam environment. How do I get this accommodation if I’m not on campus?

As a result of the stay-at-home order, the CAE and the Med School are not able to provide a distraction-reduced exam environment. However, the CAE is providing you with information for how you may create that environment as you stay-at-home or shelter-in-place. The purpose of the distraction-reduced exam environment is intended to limit the amount of disturbances that may occur in a physical classroom environment, such as noise level and large student crowds. In order to limit those potential distractors, the CAE and the Med School provide you with a testing environment that has less students and noise than the average classroom. To accomplish this, you may be provided with ear plugs to limit noise and a divider to limit visual interruptions. The CAE understands that finding a suitable environment may pose a challenge. As the University continues to abide by the physical distancing and shelter-in-place orders, please know that the CAE and Med school staff look forward to being able to provide you with all previous services once it is safe to do so. Here are some tips to consider to achieve a distraction-reduced environment at your shelter-in-place location:

  1. Create a study environment based on your needs. Study in a location that minimizes both visual and auditory distractions.
    • Try to find a location where you cannot see others moving around and where there are fewer people.
    • Use noise cancelling headphones, earplugs, or listen to white noise to reduce auditory distractions.
  2. Chewing gum is sometimes helpful for focus, and having a stress ball or other fidget can help when you start to feel restless.
  3. Remove unnecessary items from your study space that are not needed for studying.
  4. Remove electronic distractions. Turn your phone on silent and put it where you cannot see the screen. Turn off notifications on your laptop.
  5. Reduce internal recurring thoughts. Keep a post-it note or piece of paper to right down your thoughts so you don’t forget them. You can take care of the items on your timed break or when finished studying.

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I am struggling with staring at the computer screen for so long. What can I do?

We understand that increased screen time can impact health in a variety of ways, and for some individuals with disabilities, it may have even more of a negative impact. Because all classes at this time are only being offered online, all students, faculty, and staff are having to find creative ways to adjust. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Adjust your computer display settings. Adjusting the display settings of your computer can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Generally, these adjustments to brightness, text size and contrast, and color temperature are beneficial.
  2. Take frequent breaks. To relieve neck, back, shoulder pain, and eye strain, take frequent breaks throughout the day (aim for one 10-minute break/hour) to stand up, move and stretch.
  3. Modify your workstation. Consider the lighting, possibly using a desk lamp so the light doesn’t shine directly in your eyes or onto the computer screen. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height so your feet rest comfortably on the floor to aid in posture. Position your computer screen at a comfortable distance from your eyes.
  4. Blink more often. When staring at a screen, people tend to blink less frequently (about 1/3 as often as usual!). Blinking is important when working on a computer because it moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.
  5. Minimize glare. Glare from light reflections can cause eye strain. Consider purchasing an anti-glare screen for your computer.
  6. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes find an object about 20 feet away, and stare at it for 20 seconds. This trick is intended to exercise your eyes and give them a break from your monitor's bright backlight.

Find more information here: and

On behalf of all CAE staff, we are wishing you and your loved one’s safety and health during this challenging time. We look forward to continuing to work with you and support you in ensuring access in the remote learning environment.


UCLA Center for Accessible Education