Temporary Health Conditions

The University of Northern Iowa recognizes students may have absences related to illness, medical care, or other situations that can impact attendance and coursework. In general, students are responsible for informing instructors of their need to be absent from class for unscheduled events (i.e. sudden illness, etc.) or medical appointments. 

What is a temporary condition or injury?

Temporary conditions or injuries are short-term, not chronic, and have little or no outstanding or lasting effects. Temporary conditions or injuries lasting six months or less are not considered permanent disabilities and generally do not qualify as a disability under federal or state laws. The University does recognize that temporary conditions and injuries can be challenging and may impact a student’s ability to fully participate in class. This webpage is designed to inform students of strategies and resources which may be beneficial in navigating their temporary condition or injury. 

Examples of temporary conditions or injuries:

  • A sprained or broken hand, finger, leg, or other joint that will heal completely within a few weeks or months.

  • Minor or non-chronic medical conditions or disorders that last more than a few weeks.

  • Surgeries that temporarily impact a student in a course without lasting effects.

  • Condition caused by an accident or injury that will heal under six months’ time with no lasting effects.

Navigating next steps:

For a student, depending on your individual circumstances, consider taking one or more of the following steps to receive support and assistance appropriate for your individual circumstances.

  • Reach out to your Residence Life Coordinator or Resident Assistant (if you are living in the residence halls) for assistance related to your residence hall space. (link to staff website)

  • Provide documentation of your temporary condition to UNI Parking if you need a temporary handicap parking pass in addition to your UNI pass. (link to website)

  • Review the below suggestions from previous students who have navigated physical injuries. 

  • Communicate with your faculty on a case by case basis based on your specific needs for their specific class. 

  • Connect with Student Care through the Office of the Dean of Students for assistance and support in navigating your temporary condition or injury and your persistence at UNI.

Should a temporary condition have continued lasting effects (examples might include concussive syndrome or complications due to surgery that cause permanent injury), then Student Accessibility Services should be contacted for a consultation. 

For a student, if after you have utilized the above resources you continue to have access concerns, please reach out to Student Accessibility Services. 

Temporary conditions or injuries to your dominant shoulder, hand, arm, or wrist:

For assistance with note-taking, test-taking, typing, etc, the following information has been helpful to other students: 

  • Use a smartphone, digital recorder, or other software to audio record your lectures with instructor permission.

  • Ask a friend or another student in your class to copy or scan their notes.

  • Ask your instructor to help you recruit a student to share their notes with you.

  • Ask a friend or family member to write or type for you outside of class.

  • Use a speech-to-text software program that allows you to speak into the computer through a microphone, your speech converting to written text. Google Docs have a dictation feature, by selecting the microphone under “tools”. 

Temporary conditions or injuries to your leg, knee, or foot:

For assistance physically navigating campus, the following information has been helpful to other students:

  • Reconsider your paths and routes across campus. The route you typically take may not be the most accessible route with your temporary condition or injury. 

  • Transportation across campus via golf carts or university vehicles is not available. The UNI Department of Public Safety/Parking Division provides short-term parking for individuals with documentation clearly stating the need for handicap parking. 

  • Talk with your instructor about what course materials you need with you in the classroom (textbooks, etc.) in order to minimize what you need to carry across campus. 

  • Consult with your physician and insurance company regarding the use of and access to mobility devices (for example: wheelchairs, knee scooters, crutches). 

  • Evaluate how you spend your time across campus. Make adjustments to where you spend your time in between classes. Consider spending downtime in between classes in the library, Union, or other academic buildings to decrease the need to go back and forth across campus.