Over the years, it has become apparent that schools must be handicap accessible. After all, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the 2015-16 school year, disabled students numbered 6.7 million, or 14% of total public school enrollment. Of this statistic, about 15-21% were physically related and could potentially hinder a student’s ability to get around school. While the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that schools ensure its disabled students are able to reach all parts of the campus, there is always room for improvement, especially in the details. One way that SUA’s staff is improving the school’s handicap accessibility is through a committee called Long Range Strategic Planning (LRSP) that is made up of teachers, staff, and alumnae.
One member, Mr. Simcoe, discusses their focus.“The LRSP is a 5-year plan where we look at different aspects of our school and look at areas where we can improve.”
Handicap accessibility is one of the features that the LRSP is focusing on. According to Mr. Simcoe, they are addressing this topic by “bringing some people from outside Saint Ursula who are experts to see the campus and make suggestions. We also had a student who graduated recently who has a physical disability, and we plan on getting her point of view.” Although the LRSP is only in its first of the five years, the committees are certainly on the right track to change SUA for the better.
On the flip side, students are also contributing to making SUA more welcoming to disabled students, particularly through the Injured Players club. Co-leader Sarah Watts ‘20 was personally inspired to make the club after her own experiences with chronic pain. Her goal for her club is “to create an environment where athletes and injured people feel safe to share their experiences and find fun new ways to cope with injury”.
All in all, SUA is continuing to better its handicap accessibility in order to make our campus inviting to all, despite what differences we may have.