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COVID-19 Related Reasonable Accommodation FAQ

FAQ’s Regarding COVID19 Related Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Who may request an accommodation?

Any student or employee (faculty, staff, other academic appointee, or postdoctoral researcher) may request an accommodation based on concerns about returning to an in-person academic or work environment due to COVID-19. These concerns may be based on a person’s underlying health conditions, pregnancy, or age or the underlying health conditions, pregnancy, or age of people with whom they live. The University will work to honor requests for accommodations from individuals identified as high risk according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), including, but not limited to, individuals who are at least age 65, individuals who are currently pregnant, and individuals with certain underlying medical conditions. The University will consider all accommodations on a case-by-case basis consistent with its policies and legal obligations. Students and employees who received reasonable accommodations before the COVID-19 pandemic also may seek additional or altered accommodations.

What types of accommodations may be reasonable?

Each accommodation request will be evaluated and determined on a case-by-case basis. For student accommodations, SDS will consider academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services needed to enable full participation in University programs and services. Additionally, students may self-select a fully remote course schedule. For employee accommodations, EOP and ELR will consider accommodations that may be reasonable and effective in light of the employee’s essential job responsibilities without imposing undue hardship on the University. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, a special configuration of classrooms or workspaces beyond those already planned; a change in the location or timing of work; remote work; temporary assignment; or a leave of absence.

For additional information on leaves of absence for employees, see Faculty Handbook, Postdoctoral Researcher Manual, or Human Resources Policies.  Academic Appointees may speak with Associate Provost Ingrid Gould,  Postdoctoral Researchers may contact the designated Dean’s Office contact, and staff may reach out to their HR Partner or a member of the Employee and Labor Relations team.

What is required to request an accommodation?

For students.  Students in need of academic assistance who have tested positive for COVID-19, who are required to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19, who are at higher risk due to age or pregnancy, or who live with someone who is at higher risk due to underlying health conditions, pregnancy, age or who has contracted COVID-19 should contact their Deans of Students.

Students in need of assistance who have underlying chronic health conditions and are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 or who are experiencing on-going symptoms (beyond three weeks of infection) and secondary medical issues as a result of contracting COVID-19 should contact Student Disability Services (SDS). Students must submit a Request for Accommodations Form. In addition, students may be asked to submit a Medical Verification Form (completed by their treating health care professional) or, alternatively, a medical report from their treating health care professional on letterhead.  SDS will review the request and contact the individual to continue the interactive process, which will also include an interview and a review of documentation.

For employees. Complete and submit (1) the COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodation Request Form and (2) (for faculty, other academic appointees and postdoctoral researchers) the Medical Provider form, or (for staff) the Certification of Healthcare Provider Form and the Authorization for Release of Information form.  Faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff requesting an accommodation solely due to age or the underlying health conditions, pregnancy, or age of people with whom they live do not need to submit the Medical Provider form (for faculty, other academic appointees and postdoctoral researchers) or the Certification of Healthcare Provider Form and the Authorization for Release of Information (for staff). A representative from Equal Opportunity Programs or Employee and Labor Relations will review the request and contact the individual to continue the interactive process, which will also include an interview and a review of documentation.

What happens when the State of Illinois moves to a different Phase of Restore Illinois?

Generally, when the CDC determines that certain populations are no longer at increased risk for serious illness related to COVID-19 (due to, for example, the development of a safe and effective treatment or vaccine, as currently required for Illinois Phase 5), then COVID-19-related accommodations will no longer be necessary. Any changes between the other Phases (1-4) of the Restore Illinois Plan will not affect a person’s ability to request COVID-19 related accommodations. Further, students and employees that have requested and received approval for certain accommodations at any time may contact Student Disability Services, Equal Opportunity Programs or Employee and Labor Relations, respectively, to discuss any modifications to their accommodations.