Fall 2020 COVID-19 UPDATE for Students

As the Fall 2020 Semester has begun the ODS Exams Team would like to provide some updated policies and procedures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. After consulting with a representative from JMU’s University Health Center and our colleagues at other leading Virginia universities, we have made the difficult decision to eliminate face-to-face contact as much as possible. Unless there is an extenuating circumstance, all exams are either to remain on Canvas or alternative testing spaces will be needed for students with exam accommodations. Extenuating circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and ODS will need to be notified 5 business days in advance.


The list provided below are accommodations that can be administered by instructors or ODS staff remotely.

  • Extended Time: Canvas exam times can be adjusted for individual students.
  • Reduced distraction environment: Students with this accommodation can find their own reduced-distraction space for online exams.

  • Text-to-speech: Students with this accommodation can download free text-to-speech software that has been used in our testing facility.
    • For those who require text-to-speech, there are free ways to utilize different software. Below are various options you can download to read Canvas exams aloud to you. Please test these options before taking an online exam to familiarize yourself and find what works best for you.
      • Read Aloud (Google Chrome extension, what we use in ODS)
      • Natural Reader (Google Chrome extension)
      • Talkie (Google Chrome extension)
      • Speech (built in Mac software, no need to download) 
    • Respondus Lockdown Browser is not compatible with text-to-speech software. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this.

  • Enlarged text: Text can be enlarged with magnification software on computers and laptops for students who have this accommodation.

  • Scribes: Remote scribing via Zoom. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this.

  • Interpreter: Remote interpreter via Zoom


While ODS will not be able to proctor remote/online exams JMU is in the process of procuring remote-proctoring software.


If there happens to be a special circumstance that requires a student to take their exam within our facilities, ODS will need to be notified 5 business days in advance. If it is approved, we will send additional updates regarding exam time blocks and exam delivery/return to both the instructor and the student.


Back to Top