Student Accessibility Services

COVID-19 Questions

The following are answers to common questions regarding COVID-19 and accessibility. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) directly at (319) 273-2677 Relay 711 or

What if I have a chronic health condition and am concerned about in-person classes, living on campus, or academic programming?

Students who have concerns about an underlying health condition(s) and the risks of attending classes, living in a residence hall due to COVID-19, or any other aspect of the educational experience should consult with their health care provider. Please connect with SAS as soon as possible to discuss accommodations specific to your access needs.

Please contact SAS directly at (319) 273-2677 Relay 711 or if you have any questions or concerns regarding the accommodation process, and a member of the SAS team will follow up with you right away. 

What if I live with someone who has a chronic health condition and am concerned with passing COVID-19 to them? 

Students who are concerned about the risk of attending in-person classes, being on campus, or any other aspect of the education experience due to living with someone with a chronic health condition should connect with the Dean of Students office at or (319) 273-2332 Relay 711. The Dean of Students office will be able to provide guidance and resources, including determining whether any in-person or hybrid courses can be taken online. 

What if I am approved for the accommodation of online courses and have some remaining classes which need to be transitioned to online?

SAS will work with you and the following individual from the appropriate college of your major for either single courses or full course loads:

  • College of Business (COB)- Jenny Connolly
  • College of Education (COE) - Stephanie Schmitz
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences CSBS) - Bill Henninger
  • College of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences (CHAS) - Individual department heads
  • Undeclared/Deciding majors - Kim Bock

If you have any questions or concerns about your class schedule, please contact your academic advisor. Your advisor’s name and contact information is posted in the advisor section in the righthand column of My Student Center in MyUNIverse.

I am concerned that if professors only allow a certain amount of missed classes, students may show up to classes when they are not feeling well and potentially spread COVID-19 to others.  Do you know if UNI will be issuing a relaxation on these policies during this time?

The following changes will be in place for faculty in the 2020-2021 academic year:

  1. All faculty are asked to include the following statement regarding face coverings and distancing in their class syllabi:

Protecting our campus from COVID-19 depends on all of us acting with care and responsibility. To protect each other and our campus community, we are required to wear masks or face shields that cover our mouths and noses inside all campus buildings, including throughout the duration of class. We are asked to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms, stay away from others and seek medical attention if we’re not feeling well and/or experience any symptoms such as a fever over 100.4°, and to communicate and plan proactively to make up for missed learning. We will maintain physical distancing by sitting in designated areas in the classroom. Failure to follow these requirements can result in students being referred to the student conduct process and faculty being referred to the Associate Provost for Faculty. We take these steps together recognizing that my mask protects you, your mask protects me, and together wearing masks protects the entire UNI community. Our collective actions will determine our ability to remain together in an in-person learning environment.

  1. When students need to miss class for illness, self-isolation, or quarantine, faculty must provide a means for students to remain current on material or a way to make up work missed. Students must notify their instructors right away. If students think they might need additional accommodations, they should contact SAS to get connected with our office

Absences related to COVID-19 illness, self-isolation, or quarantine: Faculty teaching Face-to-Face must be prepared to also offer online instruction and/or have assignment alternatives for individual students who are unable to attend class due to COVID-related issues. This should also extend to field experiences that students may not be able to attend for the same reasons.

Regardless of your course delivery type, your UNI faculty will make themselves accessible to you both during class and outside of the classroom. Faculty members will host office hours, and continue to focus on building relationships with you and your peers. One of the hallmarks of a UNI education is connection with outstanding faculty both inside and outside of the classroom. 

I am unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition. Can I still attend in-person classes and/or be in public spaces on campus due to my condition? 

Students who have concerns about wearing a face-covering related to a medical condition(s) should get connected with SAS to engage in the accommodations process. Please be prepared to provide medical documentation that supports your request during this process. Although no two situations are the same, a face shield will be explored as an option. If the barrier to access cannot be removed, the next step would be moving the student into online courses and/or making other schedule adjustments that would best meet the student's medical condition. Not wearing a mask or face shield is NOT an option.

I am unable to wear a face-covering due to membership in a protected identity/class other than disability. Can I still attend in-person classes and/or be in public spaces on campus?

Students who have a reason for not wearing a face-covering due to membership in a protected class other than disability should connect with Leah Gutknecht, Assistant to the President for Compliance & Equity Management, at or (319) 273-2846 Relay 711. Not wearing a mask or face shield is NOT an option.

I am a student who is D/deaf or hard-of-hearing. To aid in my communication, it’s important that I be able to read lips. What are my options? 

Please connect with SAS, so we can engage in the interactive accommodation process. Potential solutions may be asking the faculty member to wear a face shield, a clear mask, or utilize assistive technology that would aid in communication. SAS has a limited supply of clear masks available for students and their instructors to use. If a clear face covering is not available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a cloth face covering that blocks your instructors' lips. Google Live Transcribe is a free Android app that automatically transcribes words that it hears. This might be really useful for those situations when a face shield or clear mask is unavailable. Like in any approved accommodation situation, if your faculty has concerns about any of the alternatives for which you are approved, please contact SAS right away, so we can support you by connecting with your faculty member. 

I am fearful of getting COVID-19. Do I qualify for support?

If you have fears about COVID-19 related to a medical condition(s), students should get connected with SAS to engage in the accommodations process. Please be prepared to provide medical documentation that supports your fear with a medical condition during this process. During the individualized process, SAS staff will discuss with you options for removing the barrier to access within the educational environment to best meet the student’s accessibility needs.

All students will be required to complete training and the Student Commitment and Acknowledgement of Risk, which includes the following two sentences, "At this time, no one can guarantee an entirely COVID-19-free campus environment. The COVID-19 virus is unpredictable, extremely contagious, and can lead to mild or more severe health effects."

I am concerned about eating in the dining centers due to COVID. What safety measures have been implemented to support students?

Students with meal plans can choose to eat in the dining centers, get any meal to-go, or grab a meal at a central location on campus during peak meal times. For additional information on the safety measures and options available, please visit the COVID-19 page on the Housing and Dining (UHD) website.

I am concerned about living on campus, including moving into the residence halls and common gathering spaces. What safety measures have been implemented to support students?

Students are able to select from two different move-in options, signing up for a move-in window of two hours with no more than three guests to assist. This will spread the move-in process out across a two-week period. Common gathering spaces will have reduced capacities to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Through UHD facilities, staff will be increasing routine cleaning practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For additional information on the safety measures, please visit the COVID-19 page on the UHD website.

Due to my disability, I need to be seated in a specific part of the classroom to remove a barrier to access. Does safety measures due to COVID impact me?

Faculty are expected to use assigned seating for the semester in order to help the University quickly determine who might need to be contacted should someone become ill with COVID-19. Your instructor should assign the seating early in the semester and encourage consistency within the classroom. If you have a concern regarding equal access in your classes due to your disability and assigned seating, please get connected with SAS to engage in the interactive process. We can discuss potential options with you to ensure your access needs are met.