Being a student with a physical disability on-campus can be a very difficult experience. Without proper accommodations, many physically disabled students may find it difficult to perform basic tasks needed to effectively complete their studies. An obvious example illustrates this point — if there are no ramps or elevators on-campus then people who are wheelchair-bound will unable to freely move about about and attend their classes.
Students may not feel safe at school when their basic needs aren’t considered. Therefore when designing new buildings and contemplating updates to older structures, schools should ensure that they consider accessibility standards so that people with physical disabilities have a way to enjoy their education and environment, just like any other student. In fact it is a moral imperative to ensure that all students feel safe at school and have an equal opportunity to learn and attend their classes. Thus, in order to preserve this equality, universities should provide accommodations that guarantees every student has equal access to its campus facilities.
Consequently, not only are these accommodations for persons with physical disabilities the ethical and right decision, but they are also mandated by federal law. Specifically the American Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law in 1990, mandates that both public and private institutions must provide students with certain additional accessibility features to access and move about to their facilities, thereby enhancing university and college safety in case of emergency situations. In regards to universities, the law states that:
“Any person that offers examinations or courses related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes shall offer such examinations or courses in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities or offer alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals.”
To ensure that their schools comply with the American Disability Act, universities must implement the most effective technological solutions which can make their campus accessible for disabled students. Likewise, Guardly a personal safety application for smartphones, can help colleges keep their campuses in-compliance with the ADA. Specifically, should a disabled student experience difficulty accessing their campus, they can use Guardly to send off an alert to campus security and a custom group of contacts and request help. When an alert is sent the student’s GPS location is displayed and the student can communicate with their contacts through call conferencing instant messaging, and SMS.
Not only does Guardly Safe Campus improve accessibility on campus, but its features have been designed to accommodate people with physical disabilities. It was of the utmost importance to ensure that persons with disabilities could fully use the application. Therefore, Guardly’s features have been have carefully developed on iOS and Android to comply with guidelines set out by the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). These guidelines provide a rubric for companies to follow, in order to make their products accessible for disabled persons. An example of how Guardly for iPhone and Android meets these guidelines, is illustrated in its integration of Instant Messaging and SMS into the core functionality of the application. Specifically section 1194.31 (E) of the VPAT, states that “at least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user speech shall be provided, or support for Assistive Technology used by people with disabilities shall be provided.” Guardly surpasses this requirement, by allowing its users to employ private and secure instant messaging to communicate with their contacts. Therefore, someone who is hard-of-hearing may experience an emergency on-campus and can use Guardly to notify and communicate with their campus police until a police officer, guard or paramedic arrives to assist them. By using Guardly Safe Campus and its mobile safety apps, which meet VPAT guidelines, schools can make their campuses more accessible for students with disabilities, helping them feel much more safe at school.
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Guardly provides mobile safety solutions for reporting and managing enterprise and public safety emergencies.Our safety apps act as personal emergency phones that transmit real-time indoor/GPS location, and provides two-way communication with private security, 911 authorities and safety groups using our real-time platform for emergency incident monitoring, management, communication and response.
- Read our customer campus safety study showing how Guardly helped improve emergency response times by 44% at a school.
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