Temporary Conditions and Injuries

What is considered a Temporary Condition or Injury?

Temporary conditions and injuries with an actual or expected duration of six months or less are generally not regarded as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Maine Human Rights Act, and therefore are not usually eligible for accommodations.

Examples of temporary conditions and injuries that would not ordinarily constitute disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • A broken or sprained bone where recovery is expected within a few weeks or months
  • Medical conditions that are not chronic and where lasting effects are not expected
  • Physical injuries not expected to persist beyond 6 months or have lasting effects
  • Concussions (where recovery is expected within a few weeks or months)
  • Some cases of anxiety or other mental health-related issues
  • Recovery from surgery

However, more severe impairments may qualify as disabilities even if they are expected to be temporary.  Impairments must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they qualify as disabilities under the ADA or the Maine Human Rights Act.

What should I do if I have a temporary condition or injury?

Although you may not be eligible for disability-related accommodations, Bates does recognize that temporary conditions and injuries can create difficulties related to a student’s academic progress in a given semester and we want to help. If you have a condition that is impacting you academically or otherwise (access to a building or classroom, for example), you should follow these steps.

1. Communicate with your professors immediately and often:

Explain how your academic performance may be impacted and provide your medical professional’s expectations about limitations and recovery time. Meet with them to discuss options and develop a plan to implement any temporary adjustments they have approved regarding attendance, assignments, or exams, for example. Be proactive and maintain ongoing communication.

In some courses, professors may require that they be officially notified for unplanned illness-related absences, when these absences occur during class sessions that involve specific course requirements, e.g., laboratories, presentations, performances, or exams. Such a requirement should be stated on the course syllabus. If a student is absent from these classes because of illness and the professor requires notification, then students may seek that notice from Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services. The student, in consultation with the professor, is responsible for addressing missed work.

2. If you anticipate challenges in the classroom or with coursework:

The Office of Accessible Education and Student Support may be able to help arrange additional supports, if necessary. Please review the Injuries and Possible Supports list and contact accessibility@bates.edu or 207-786-6222 to schedule a meeting.

3. If physical access is an anticipated issue:

If you think your condition may impact you in the residential setting, with access to other campus buildings, and/or getting around campus, you should contact the Office of Accessible Education and Student Support as a first step. They will work with any relevant parties at Bates to implement any adjustments deemed necessary to the best of the college’s ability.

4. Utilize other supports and resources available to you on campus:

It may be helpful to notify your academic advisors if you have concerns about impact on your academic progress. You may also want to notify and/or meet with your Student Support Advisor for additional support and help with connecting to resources.

What if I experience lasting effects related to my condition or injury?

If limitations due to a temporary condition or injury persist beyond 6 months, are especially severe in nature, or will have continued lasting effects, you should follow the procedure for requesting a disability-related accommodation and schedule a meeting with Carson Dockum, Director of Accessible Education.