Accommodations for Vulnerable Individuals

The university is aware that some members of our community face a greater risk from COVID-19 than others and encourages faculty, staff, and students who have concerns about their individual circumstances to consider consulting with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) or Human Resources (HR) about the process for seeking a reasonable accommodation.

Workplace Accommodations

If you fall within the CDC’s definition of a “vulnerable person” or if you have a documented disability, you may request a workplace accommodation that will allow you to return safely to your work environment or make other appropriate arrangements.

The CDC’s definition of a “vulnerable person” for COVID-19 has changed over time based on evolving public health and regulatory guidance. Individuals who are at increased risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 include the following:

  • Older adults, particularly those ages 65 and older;
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including those:
    • with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
    • who have heart conditions;
    • who have cancer;
    • who are immunocompromised (including blood, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications);
    • with obesity (body mass index between 30 and 39) or severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher);
    • with Type 2 diabetes;
    • with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
    • who are pregnant (Note: The CDC recommends pregnant people receive the vaccine, and there is no diminishment of fertility following vaccination. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.);
    • who smoke;
    • who have sickle cell disease;
    • with chronic kidney disease; and
    • with liver disease.

If you wish to seek a workplace accommodation, you should contact the Office of Institutional Equity. The OIE will facilitate the review and will follow the usual disability accommodations process, with confidential information being held by OIE only. The OIE will work with the department and Central/Divisional HR to ensure equity across the university. Note that additional documentation from the affiliate’s medical record may be required.

If you are providing care for a vulnerable family member (spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter, or parent) who has a serious health condition, you may be eligible to apply for Family Medical Leave (FMLA).

More information for faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows on the accommodations process may be found on the OIE website or, or by phone (410-516-8075) or email (  or

Students should contact the Student Disability Services Coordinator at their respective school to begin the process. In addition, as always, anyone with a documented disability or who needs a religious accommodation, pregnancy or nursing parent adjustment may pursue accommodations as well.

Confidentiality Expectations

Employees who express concerns regarding their own health condition do not need to disclose the details of the health condition to their supervisor or co-workers. They may need to disclose this information to OIE, however, if they are seeking an accommodation. In addition, department chairs/heads or managers should not seek details when an employee indicates the potential need for an accommodation. OIE will follow HIPAA and other confidentiality guidelines related to private health information when reviewing requests for accommodation.