Temporary Injuries and Illnesses

Unexpected injuries and illnesses can happen to anyone at any time. We may be able to provide some assistance if the impact of your condition is expected to last more than a week.

If your situation is impacting your ability to use your campus meal plan, please email dining@cornell.edu for options (e.g., assistance in Dining Hall, boxed meals, etc.).  

If you anticipate your condition will impact you for more than a week

For example, if you have a concussion or a broken bone, or are being admitted for a hospital stay, you can:

Accommodations help minimize access barriers that may be related to your condition. For example, if you are having difficulty walking, thinking, learning, seeing, hearing, or working, we may be able to assist. We can arrange transportation assistance around campus, accommodations for exams, temporary note taking assistance, equipment loans, etc.   

Please be aware that we cannot assist with things like: typing homework assignments, personal assistance (e.g., laundry), or transportation to off-campus medical appointments.   

Reach out to us early! It may still take a few days for us to follow up with your request. You can follow some of the steps below for support in the meantime.  

If you anticipate it will impact you for less than a week

If you may be impacted for a short period of time, such as with a cold, flu, or COVID, we encourage you to review the general tips below that may assist you in keeping up with your work:

  • Review your syllabi. Often, your professors have policies regarding short-term absences and missed work, and procedures for how to let them know if you need to use them.  
  • Communicate with your instructors (see email template below).
  • Use some of the free or low-cost assistive technology options to help with things like writing, taking notes, and reading.
  • Check in with your College/School Advising staff if your professor needs guidance in assisting you. They may have resources to support you during this time.
  • The office of Student Support and Advocacy Services provides support to students navigating sudden situations.  

When communicating with your professors or college advising staff, you do not need to disclose the specific illness or injury. You just need to let them know that you’re ill or injured, and are experiencing symptoms.   

Example Email Template

Here is an example email template you can use to communicate with your faulty or course staff:

Dear [Recipient’s Name]

My name is [Name and netID], and I'm enrolled in your course, [Course name].   

I am currently experiencing symptoms related to a recent injury/illness that are preventing me from [GIVE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES: turning in an assignment on time / taking an upcoming exam or quiz / attending class or lab ].  

This course matters to me and I want to be able to still participate and perform the work in the course to the best of my ability. However, my recent condition is going to impact me in a temporary way. I anticipate that this will only last a few days to a week, but if it turns out to be longer, I will work with SDS.   

I look forward to working with you to find some solutions that allow me time to recover while still being connected to the class. I am eager to reintegrate myself into the coursework very soon.  

Thank you in advance for your help and support during this time.  


[Your Name]