Attendance Policy Modifications: Guidelines and Procedures
Students registered with Disability Support Services (DSS) are expected to attend class on a regular basis. Faculty have the right to establish attendance, course participation, and late work policies. These policies are usually communicated to students via the course syllabus at the beginning of each semester. However, in instances where a student provides documentation of a disability that involves random or cyclical acute episodes that may occasionally impact the student's ability to attend class, DSS may recommend a limited modification of course attendance policies.
The specific modification allowed for each class must be determined on a course-by-course basis through an interactive process involving the student, the course instructor and DSS staff. The number of absences allowed beyond any limit stated in the course attendance policy is dependent on the participatory or interactive nature of the course. This accommodation may not be reasonable, or may need to be strictly limited, in courses where in-class participation is essential.
Students approved by DSS for a modification of course attendance policies must note that:
- The accommodation directs a course instructor to consider providing a limited modification of the established course policies regarding attendance. It is not a blanket reason to miss class.
- DSS expects that the professor and student will arrange a reasonable modification to the attendance policy for each course (with input from DSS if requested by the student or professor). DSS generally recommends at least one additional absence for Tuesday/Thursday courses or courses that meet once a week, and two additional absences for Monday/Wednesday/Friday courses.
- The student must notify the instructor (via email whenever possible) about the absence as soon as the student is well enough to do so. The student should note that the absence is/was related to his or her disability (the student does not need to provide a diagnosis or specific details of the symptoms).
- The accommodation is not intended to be applied retroactively. If a student waits to submit a request for DSS to notify their instructors of their approved accommodations until the mid-point or end of the semester, DSS expects that the instructor will consider the accommodation from that point forward.
- The course attendance policy modification is intended to cover only disability-related absences. The student must follow the course policies for all other types of absences (such as for a routine temporary illness or family/personal issues).
- If a student exceeds the number of absences agreed upon for the modification, the professor has the right to treat those additional absences as outlined in the course attendance policy.
- Faculty are not required to re-teach material or provide detailed notes to a student approved for this accommodation when the student misses class.
- Students approved for a course attendance policy modification are still expected to meet all deadlines established for out-of-class assignments in accordance with the syllabus and professor instructions.
A student approved by DSS for a modification of course attendance policies must complete the following steps to arrange the modification for each course:
- Review the syllabus for each course, attend the first day of class for each course and listen carefully to any information your course instructor provides about attendance and in-class participation policies.
- Log on to the DSS portal and submit your request for faculty notification of accommodation emails. Make sure to select the box for "Course attendance policy modification" in the list of your approved accommodations.
- After DSS sends your faculty notification of accommodation emails to your course instructors, meet one-on-one with your instructors to discuss the attendance and course participation policies for the course and determine what reasonable modifications can be made due to your disability. Important: if you and your instructor cannot agree upon a reasonable modification for the attendance policies in the course, you must contact your DSS advisor to discuss the situation and resolve the issue.
- After you and your course instructor have agreed upon a reasonable modification, you must submit the agreement to DSS in writing. To submit the agreement, you must:
- Log on to the DSS portal and select the "Agreements with Instructors" tab on the left side of the page under the "My Accommodations" heading.
- Fill out an agreement to send to the instructor in each course where a modification has been agreed upon.
- If a student needs assistance in filling out the Agreement with Instructor form, the student should make an appointment with their DSS advisor.
- It is important that the agreement is submitted in writing via the DSS portal. Agreements not submitted may not be honored.