Personal Care Assistants

The following information provides clarification on the responsibilities of the PCA, the student and Disability Resource Center (DRC).
Student responsibilities:
• Informing DRC of the need for a PCA and providing appropriate documentation
• Employing the PCA (hiring, training, paying, replacing, ensuring back-ups, etc.)
• Ensuring the PCA abides by all Northeastern University policies, including but not limited to the Student Code of Conduct
• Establishing a non-disruptive mode of communication between themselves and the PCA in the learning environment
• Ensuring the PCA is acting as a non-academic participant in the learning environment
• Paying for housing or other fees associated with living on campus if applicable.

PCA responsibilities:
• Remaining available to assist the student with personal needs in the learning environment, as needed
• Acting as a non-academic participant in the learning environment
• Abiding by all Northeastern University policies, including but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct
• When an educational environment requires students for safety or health related reasons to meet certain criteria, such as a background check, inoculations, personal protective equipment, etc., the PCA must meet the same requirement(s)
Eligibility: Caregiver’s eligibility for Northeastern University housing is contingent upon Resident’s continued occupancy of Northeastern University housing, Disability Resource Center’ (DRC) continued determination that a caregiver is a reasonable accommodation for Resident, Resident’s continued desire to have Caregiver serve as Resident’s caregiver, and Caregiver’s compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement
Assignment of Space: The Agreement is for a space in a designated University Housing and Dining Services housing facility associated with Resident as a part of their reasonable accommodation as approved by DRC. This Contract is not a lease agreement. The DRC accommodates housing preferences when possible, but does not guarantee assignments based on preferences. The University reserves the right to reassign Caregiver to another space, residence hall room, or residence at any time during the term of this Agreement.
Termination of Agreement by Caregiver: If a Caregiver terminates their caregiver relationship with Resident, Caregiver is no longer eligible for Northeastern University housing. The Caregiver will then have 24 hours to vacate the room and return keys to Housing staff.
Termination of Agreement by the University: Northeastern University reserves the right to terminate this Agreement at any time for violation of the terms and conditions of the agreement, disruption to the residence hall community, changes in space availability, failure to adhere to university or Housing policies, if Caregiver ceases to meet the eligibility requirements set forth above, or for other reasonable cause as determined by Housing. Unless Northeastern University determines that the health or safety of the community requires immediate vacancy, Caregiver will have 24 hours to vacate the room and return keys to Housing staff.

Liability/Personal Property: The University is not responsible for loss or damage to personal property in Housing facilities due to fire, theft, water, interruption of water, heat, utility problems, or other causes. Caregivers are encouraged to carry personal property insurance. Any claims about property loss will be referred to the University Office of Risk Management.
Responsibility of Caregiver for the Facilities: Caregivers are provided with a room key and an electronic access device and will be held financially responsible for loss of these devices via the student account of the Resident. Any damage associated with the Caregiver may be assessed to Resident. Charges for loss or damage caused by a Caregiver will be assessed by Housing, on the Resident’s University account and must be paid promptly. Charges for damages, excessive cleaning, and lost keys during the Agreement period will be billed to the Resident. Furniture and mattresses are not to be moved from one room to another. A service charge will be assessed, if furniture is moved from other Resident rooms or public areas into a Caregiver or Resident’s room.
• Caregivers must remove all personal belongings and garbage from their room and return all keys and electronic access devices
• When their occupancy period ends. Remaining personal items will be sent to OSU Surplus for public auction or disposal.
• Charges will be assessed for keys not returned and to cover the cost of excess cleaning service or other staffing to remove personal belongings after the Caregiver has vacated.

• Safety and Security: The Caregiver agrees to take primary responsibility for his or her own safety and security, and to support the safety and security of fellow Residents, the buildings, and dining areas. The University and UHDS will work cooperatively with Caregivers to promote a safe and secure environment, although absolute safety cannot be guaranteed. The Caregiver agrees to read and abide by security policies and precautions stated in the UHDS Student Policy and Information Guide, and other University publications that are made available to Caregiver. UHDS reserves the right to enter a room for safety, security, and maintenance purposes.
DRC responsibilities:
• Requesting appropriate documentation from the student that supports the need for a PCA in order for DRC to determine eligibility for the academic accommodation allowing the PCA access to the educational environment
• Notifying faculty of PCA attendance in the learning environment
• Addressing faculty and student concerns regarding a PCA in the learning environment
• Facilitating discussion(s) between the faculty and student regarding PCA related questions and/or concerns, upon request

Best practices for interacting with a PCA in the classroom:
• Address the student directly when interacting in the learning environment, such as looking at the student when speaking.
• If the student’s disability effects communication, the PCA may verbalize the students’ comments. The student and the PCA will have already established a non-disruptive mode of communication between themselves prior to the class. For example, the student may use a communication board and the PCA will read out loud the students’ comment or question.
• If you have been notified by DRC that a student will be bringing a PCA to your class, there is a possibility that this student may also utilize a classroom assistant. A classroom assistant provides academic support in the classroom, such as scribing in-class assignments, using a calculator, etc. This may mean that there are extra people (sometimes up to 2) in the class other than the enrolled students. NOTE: DAS will provide additional chairs as needed

• A PCA is not an academic participant (auditing the class, taking the class, etc.); therefore the PCA should not be asking questions, making comments, taking notes or recording activities. A PCA should be available (in the classroom or close by) to the student as needed.
FAQ’s or FYI’s for Faculty:
Q: What is the difference between a PCA and a classroom/lab assistant?
A: A PCA provides personal care to the student in the classroom, such as repositioning of the student, removing materials from a backpack, assisting the student with communication, attending to the students’ personal needs. A classroom/lab assistant performs only tasks that are associated with making academic activities accessible to the student (scribing, measuring, utilization of a calculator, etc.). If DAS is aware, DAS will provide information in advance to the faculty regarding whether a PCA or lab assistant will be present in their class.

Q: How do I know if it is the student or the PCA who is answering a question in my class?
A: If the student’s disability affects communication, the student will choose an effective way to communicate. This may include technology such as a voice box, communication board, typing on a computer, etc. This could also include the PCA verbalizing the students’ comments as long as it is clear it is not the PCA’s own comments. Prior to attending class the PCA and the student will have established a non-disruptive mode of communication between themselves. For example, the student may use a communication board and the PCA will read out loud the students’ comment or question. This could include classroom, lab, fieldtrip and testing environments.

Q: Who employs the PCA?
A: A PCA is employed by the student. A classroom/lab assistant is employed by DAS.

Q: If I have any questions or concerns regarding the behavior of a PCA in my classroom, who should I talk to?
A: PCA’s are held to the same standard of conduct that every Northeastern University student is held to. If you have concerns regarding a PCA’s behavior, a discussion with the student in a timely manner is recommended first. If your concerns are not resolved after this discussion, please contact DRC. For violations to the Student Code of Conduct please contact the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.