[Athen] Fluorescents lights in classrooms and process for accommodations and upgrades?

Todd Schwanke todd.schwanke at wisc.edu
Sat Aug 24 10:29:52 PDT 2019


I assume other campuses also have periodic accommodation requests related to fluorescent lights in classrooms... flicker, glare, brightness. While this does come up with other areas of buildings, my focus here is classrooms since they tend to be relatively large (compared to an office) and open shared spaces with occupants close together.

I'm working on options (hopefully with little reinventing of the wheel) that are more scalable/standardized, quicker to implement, and consistent with state building standards (cost, safety, energy, etc.). When possible, I'd also like the solutions for the individual accommodations to improve the lighting in those classrooms so that there are fewer classrooms where there are these types of concerns. Like many campuses, we have buildings that are from various time periods.

I'm wondering if other campuses have process/procedures/products in place that are publically available or that you can share that are working well around any of the following:

1) When there is a concern... testing/determining which buildings/classrooms have fluorescent lights with more flicker (generally students will refer to all fluorescents, even when some fixtures/bulbs create concerns and others do not). (What is the department that does the testing?)

2) Determining which classrooms will impact a student, without waiting until the first week of class.

3) Replacing overhead fluorescents with LED light bulbs/fixtures that have been tested/spec'd specifically for no or low flicker (whether for accommodations or as part of upgrade/remodel/new construction)

4) LED retrofits for existing fluorescent fixtures

5) Add-on or retrofit diffusers that are working well (and ideally fit a number of different fixtures)

6) Guidance or rules about bringing in supplemental lights, such as floor lamps

7) Guidance for when classes are relocated to another building or classroom

Note that I'm assuming that other options have been tried or ruled out (visors, tinted glasses, removing bulbs, turning off a light zone, sitting next to a window if available, etc)

On a side note, if you have wording that helps clinicians get at whether a "light sensitivity" is related to flicker, glare, brightness, color temp, other, that would be helpful as well.

All the best for the start of the fall semester (whether already started or just about to),

Todd Schwanke (he/him)
McBurney Disability Resource Center
University of Wisconsin - Madison

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