Temporary Illnesses and Injuries

Students who experience illness (e.g. flu, mononucleosis, or strep throat) or temporary injury (e.g. broken hand or leg) are encouraged to follow the steps below to identify appropriate plans for course work. A temporary injury or illness is a short-term impairment in functioning. Because temporary injuries and illnesses are not considered to be disabilities, students in these situations are not expected to register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) and would not generally qualify for accommodations.

Based on the Senate’s Course Attendance and Engagement Policy, it is expected that courses will be designed with policies that allow for flexibility in these types of situations and others (i.e. students needing to isolate due to COVID, students experiencing personal or family hardships, etc.). To remain consistent with the policy, adjustments to attendance, engagement, or assignment deadlines would need to be made available and communicated to the full class (exceptions exist for disability-related accommodations, religious observances, and university-sponsored events).

In general, the university relies on instructors to design course policies that allow for flexibility/account for students with temporary illnesses and injuries, however, temporary illnesses and injuries should be handled with the same policies as any other missing work/absences would be. Arrangements that can be facilitated by instructors/academic departments may include:

  • Allowing a student to type notes during class
  • Offering an oral or typed exam
  • Providing a scribe for an exam
  • Assigning rotating notetakers to share their notes with the class
  • Recording classes

Many of these are examples of universal design for learning and can increase the overall accessibility of courses. These flexibility options should be available for all students, regardless of whether the need for flexibility stems from temporary illness and injury or any other reason, in accordance with the Course Attendance and Engagement Policy.

The Senate’s Course Attendance and Engagement Policy also includes information about supporting student emergencies which are different than other reason-neutral flexibility policies. This information can be found under Emergency Extensions

Instructors can work directly with the University Testing Center if they are seeking an exam to be proctored with extra time or a computer.

If a student is experiencing a temporary injury or illness, and needs academic support, they should follow these steps: 

  1. Reach out directly to their professors. Students should work directly with their professors to discuss any challenges with meeting course expectations. The AEC generally does not provide support for temporary injuries or illnesses, but we will work with instructors on recommendations. Instructors are expected to design course policies that allow for flexibility in cases of temporary illness and injury. If there is no such flexibility embedded into the course design, or a student believes that the policies do not provide adequate flexibility, then they are to follow the steps below.
  2. Reach out to the Dean of Students (DOS) office if they are unable to find solutions directly with their professors. The DOS office can support students experiencing personal crises, mental health concerns, unanticipated family situations, and unexpected life events that can disrupt a student’s ability to focus on academics. The DOS Student Care Team helps students navigate these challenges while remaining a student at the university. 
  3. Contact Academic Advising. Students can consider withdrawing from the course, or requesting an incomplete. Students should discuss these options with an academic advisor and their instructors.
  4. Contact the AEC. If a temporary injury or illness will have long-term/significant impacts on functioning, a student might be eligible for AEC services. In this case, a student can schedule an appointment to discuss eligibility.