More students are disclosing
disabilities that may impact their classroom attendance. Such disabilities include chronic health
conditions and psychological disabilities. As with any other student with a disability, if a student with a
condition that affects attendance requests an accommodation relative to
attendance requirements, please refer the student to the Disability Services
office. Indicate to the student that you
will be happy to discuss reasonable accommodations with the student when he/she
brings a letter of accommodation from Disability Services to you. The letter from Disability Services will
verify the student’s disability and indicate that some flexibility in your
attendance policy, if practicable within the context of the course, may be an
appropriate accommodation for the student.
When the student presents you with
this letter, the two of you should discuss how many additional absences would
be appropriate in this course. The
student is instructed by Disability Services this accommodation does not mean
that absences are unlimited and that the student must be responsible for
notifying you of absences and for making up all work that is missed during the
absence. Additionally, Disability
Services notifies students that if the extent of their absences creates a
difficulty in maintaining the credibility of their experience in a course, then
the completion of the course may not be possible. In that case, a withdrawal or an incomplete
might be appropriate.
There are some courses where some
additional absences may be a reasonable accommodation, but there may be other
situations in which additional absences may alter the integrity of a
course. Below are some considerations
for faculty in determining whether additional absences are appropriate in their
- What does the syllabus say about
- If there is an attendance
policy, are all students required to provide a documentation to verify
the reason for the absence?
- Do you alter or waive
attendance policies for other students (athletes, for example)?
- How is attendance factored into
the final grade?
- What is the in-class expectation
for this course?
- Is participation figured into
the final grade?
- Are students required to
participate in class discussions?
- How do students interact with
each other (in class, group work outside of class, Blackboard, or e-mail)?
- How much does one class build
upon a previous class?
- What policies exist for making
up missed work and exams?
- Could missed assignments be
turned in on Blackboard or email?
- Are tests to be taken at a
specific time and place, or is there a window when the test can be
- Are there other sections of the class that the student could attend to catch up on missed material?