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What if I'm ill or injured?

Dear Professor,

I just got injured/ill and my work in your course XYZ is negatively affected. What should I do?

-- Sick and tired.

Dear Sick and Tired,

First and foremost, if you are ill or injured you should not wait to see a medical professional -- go to your family doctor or a doctor at a walk-in clinic, a nurse practitioner, a registered psychologist, or a dentist. This is your first step in healing. Also, take your own notes about your injury/illness, as it progresses, for your own personal records.

Seek assistance from your College Registrar, and any other relevant University support people you feel comfortable approaching. Consult University rule books (on paper and/or on the web) in order to remind yourself of your rights and responsibilities.

When it comes to UofT rules, there are many details, depending on the course and on the student, but the essential principle is the same: medical exceptions must be handled by UofT (and its teachers) in a way that is fair to the individual student and fair to the entire class in which that student is enrolled.

Fairness to the individual student is obviously the right thing to do, so we aim for that goal. However, an individual remedy cannot be stretched to the point of academic implausibility, and it cannot unfairly impact the rest of the class. In particular, this means that certain standards of evidence are applied to ensure that the system is not abused.

Since Ph.D.s are not M.D.s, we cannot judge student requests for medical consideration for missed graded course work without suitable evidence. This is why you must provide the Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, filled out only by a Physician, Surgeon, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Psychologist or Dentist. What matters for your professor is how severely, and for what period, your medical misfortune degraded your ability to do scheduled graded course work.

Private medical details are none of our business - either literally or figuratively! So please do not give out such details either verbally in writing to any of your professors. We do not want to be involved in violating your privacy.

You will notice that the Form linked above concentrates on only the timeline and severity of the illness/injury. The reason for that is that those are the only two factors that matter for the creation of appropriate make-up work and/or altered grade weighting to cover the exceptional circumstances.

I hope you feel better soon. Best wishes for speedy healing! :-)

-- Professor Peet.