Academic adjustments for Purdue students with underlying health concerns in relation to COVID-19

Purdue University recognizes some students with chronic medical conditions may identify with a heightened sense of risk. The University is committed to students continuing their academic path.

For Fall 2020, students will have the choice to remain home and participate in the Fall 2020 Online Option Experience or participate in the residential campus experience. Students should make an informed decision on whether to enroll in the online option or take classes in-person. There are heightened and unpredictable health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Risks include exposure to asymptomatic carriers of the virus, as well as virus transfer through face-to-face communications and sharing spaces with others. In some cases, Purdue may recommend that students seriously consider the fully online learning option. Ultimately, the final decision resides with the individual student and their health care provider.

Which Experience Is Right For Me?

Students who have known health conditions that present a higher risk of serious illness as identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) should be fully aware of the steps the university is incorporating into the on-campus experience as outlined on the Protect Purdue website.

This information should play a significant role in the decision-making process regarding attending remotely or being on campus. The Protect Purdue website is the source for the most current information regarding the measures the university is taking to minimize exposure and risk. This resource, in combination with the Protect Purdue Pledge, aim to inform students of the environment they will be choosing to participate in when they make the decision to attend in-person this fall.

Students who choose to be on campus in the fall are expected to fully participate in and attend each course element as it is designed.

Additional Questions

Below are a few questions that you may have about your time on campus. We encourage you to explore the information thoroughly. Please note that this process and any adjustments that result are temporary and should not be confused with disability accommodations, which is an entirely separate matter. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out via our Home Page help form, or by phone at (765) 494-1247.

What if I plan to take classes on campus but I have an underlying health issue?

The following process applies to students who by diagnosis are immunosuppressed or, because of a medical treatment plan, including medication, may have a suppressed immune system. As mentioned previously, this process and any adjustments that result are temporary and should not be confused with disability accommodations, which is an entirely separate matter. Students who choose to be on-campus for fall 2020 but have concerns about their medically related risk factor(s) and feel the need to seek adjustments should complete a Request for Consultation (C-19) formThis form may prompt you to login with your Purdue credentials. For the best experience, students should initiate this process as early as possible.

The DRC will arrange to review your medical records and may need to discuss your concerns to determine what adjustments, if any, may be put in place. Students desiring a consultation will need to provide medical records that reflect current status, diagnosis, treatment plan and prescribed current medications.

What are the risk factors?

Individuals may have one or more of the known factors that present a higher risk of serious illness if they are exposed to COVID-19. Below is a list of known risk factors provided by the CDC. Please check the CDC Website for a more comprehensive and updated list.

  • Age, which is defined as people over the age of 65.
  • Serious Heart Conditions, which include history of heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, or pulmonary hypertension
  • Chronic Lung Disease, which includes history of COPD, Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, or cystic fibrosis
  • Moderate to severe Asthma
  • Diabetes, including Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes
  • Suppressed Immune Disorders, which include individuals undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplant; individuals with HIV and other immune deficiencies; and, individuals on prolonged steroid medications or other immune-suppressants
  • Auto Immune Disorders, which include rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus, and psoriasis
  • Hyper Immune Responsive Individuals, which includes history of systemic inflammatory response syndrome or sepsis
  • Hematological Cancers, which include history of leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myelomas
  • Chronic Kidney Disease, which includes individuals who are undergoing dialysis to manage and treat chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic Liver Disease, which includes history of cirrhosis, intravenous drug users, individuals who are homeless or have unstable housing, or recently incarcerated individuals

Based on the Known Risk Factors, a Risk Determiner can be applied based on age and medical history. The Risk Determiner scale is based on a 1-5 scale (1-high risk, 5- no risk):

Age Known Risk Factors Risk Determiner
65 & Over One or More 1
65 & Over Only Age 3
30 to 64 One or More 2
30 to 64 None 4
18 to 30 One or More 2
18 to 30 None 5
What is the process for working with the DRC on this issue?

The following process will be used to manage student requests for adjustments due to COVID-19 and pre-existing conditions related to all curricular and co-curricular offerings such as housing, dining, and academics.

  • A student with an identified risk completes the Request for Consultation (C-19) Form and submits it to the DRC. The form will allow the student to upload their medical documentation that identifies current status, diagnosis, treatment plan and prescribed current medications.
  • The DRC reviews the submitted request and medical records and may need to arrange to meet with the student. Presently, all meetings are conducted virtually.
  • The DRC consults with the student, reviews documentation and the list of adjustments that are available, and makes a determination of what, if any, adjustments are necessary for the student.
  • The DRC provides a letter to the student that states the adjustments that should take place.
  • This process is designed to work through exposure-based concerns students have due to their decision to physically attend classes in the wake of the COVID-19 experience. Please note that this process and any adjustments that result are temporary and should not be confused with disability accommodations, which is an entirely separate matter. Should a student’s pre-existing conditions be exacerbated by exposure, it could move the student’s situation into the traditional stream of disability related accommodation determination, which requires a deeper analysis. This may require additional, more-detailed medical documentation that would be provided at the student’s expense as it is under higher education disability law.
  • Adjustments will most likely be limited to:
    1. Late arrival/leaving early from a class
    2. Preferential seating
    3. Housing
    4. Ability to leave a classroom unexpectedly.

    It is understood this list is not exclusive, and the reason for the review process is to fully consider the individual student situation and their request for an adjustment given their unique situation.