Some disabilities may occasionally make it impossible for a student to attend class, and may even prevent a student from participating (in person or remotely) for several days, such as during a severe flare-up or hospitalization.
In such cases, flexibility with existing course attendance policies may be approved as an appropriate accommodation. This accommodation does not mean the student is afforded unlimited absences, though generally, the maximum number of absences for a student with this accommodation should be higher than the maximum number stated in the syllabus. The number of absences that is reasonable and appropriate will vary from course to course, and may be lower if in-class participation and active learning with classmates are fundamental to the curriculum. As such, this accommodation requires conversation between the student and instructor to appropriately adjust attendance policy to a point that meets the disability needs of the student while maintaining the curriculum of the class.
After providing their instructor with their Letter of Accommodation (LOA), students must contact their instructor directly OR contact their Disability Services Specialist to initiate the conversation regarding reasonable number of absences. As with all accommodations provided by the DRC, these accommodations do not apply retroactively to absences before the instructor’s receipt of the LOA.
Professors and students, with or without the assistance of a Disability Services Specialist, must discuss the possibility of the student missing class, including how many absences would be reasonable given the nature of the course, how the student will notify the instructor in case of absence, and how missed work will be made up. These implementation details should be documented in writing. As a guide for conversation, and a means to record details, instructors may use the DRC’s Modified Absence Policy Planning Form.
Note: At no time are students required to present documentation to instructors in order to justify a disability-related absence.
If a student exceeds a reasonable number of absences and/or if these absences have not been discussed with the instructor, please contact the student’s Disability Services Specialist, who can assist in how to proceed. If the student does not complete the coursework or does not meet the course expectations after accommodations have been discussed and provided, they should be graded accordingly.