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Modification of Class Attendance Policy

Class attendance for traditionally offered classes is considered a significant aspect of participatory learning. Therefore, all requests for extension or leniency in attendance requirements will be evaluated carefully, with due consideration given to the department’s/University’s determination regarding the essential components of the course/curriculum.

Recognizing that some faculty have established strictly enforced policies regarding the number of absences that will be allowed before a student faces sanctions, and some students with disabilities have medically-related conditions of an episodic nature or other established reasons that their disability may make it difficult for them to fulfill the typical attendance requirements, the office of Student Disability Services has established the following procedure for considering/granting requests for leniency in such classroom attendance policies:

Guidelines for Determining Parameters of Flexibility in Attendance

What does flexibility in attendance mean?
Flexibility in attendance is defined as occasional exceptions to absentee/tardiness policies when educationally feasible.

When is flexibility in attendance authorized as an accommodation?
Students are expected and encouraged to attend class. Faculty have a right to establish attendance policies. However, if a student has a disability that may occasionally impact her/his ability to attend class and/or complete assignments and tests at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance is considered an appropriate accommodation. Hopefully, a student’s disability will not interfere with attendance; however, if the student has disability related absences during the semester, the accommodation allows for flexibility in attendance policies and make-up work.

Student’s responsibilities

  • Student provides appropriate documentation of a disability to the office of Student Disability Services
  • Student discusses impact of his/her disability with the disability coordinator
  • If deemed an appropriate accommodation, flexibility in attendance is added to the student’s accommodation letter
  • Student schedules an appointment to meet with the professor to determine a reasonable number of absences for the class and to establish a specific plan for making up missed work. If assistance from SDS is required, please inform the office as soon as possible.
  • Student returns signed accommodation letter and flexibility in attendance worksheet to SDS. Student should retain copies of both documents for his/her records.
  • Student will contact the professor (not SDS) as soon as possible to inform the professor that the absence was medically necessary
  • Student will adhere to the agreed upon plan and complete make up work within the agreed upon alternate timeline.
  • Student will contact SDS immediately with any questions or concerns

Professor’s responsibilities

  • Professor meets with student during scheduled appointment to discuss flexibility in attendance and to determine a reasonable number of absences for the course and develop a specific plan for making up missed work
  • Professor completes Flexibility in Attendance worksheet that is attached to the student’s accommodation letter and makes copies of letter and worksheet for her/his records and for student.
  • Professor will maintain the essential standards/learning outcomes of the class.
  • If the student notifies professor of a disability related absence, professor will return student’s voice mail/e-mail as soon as possible and verify the agreed upon alternate time line for make-up work
  • Professor will contact SDS immediately with any questions or concerns

SDS responsibilities

  • SDS discusses accommodation needs with the student and reviews student’s documentation. If reasonable, disability coordinator establishes that flexibility in attendance is an appropriate accommodation
  • SDS will generate student’s accommodation letters
  • SDS will address student/faculty questions and concerns regarding accommodations.

Considerations when determining parameters of flexibility in attendance

Policies in the syllabus

  • What does the syllabus say about attendance?
    • If you do have an attendance policy, do you require all students to provide a doctor’s note if absent?
  • Is attendance factored into the student’s final grade?
  • What is the “time in seat” expectation for this class?
    • Are students required to actively participate in class discussions/activities?
    • How is participation figured into the final grade
    • How are students expected to interact with each other (in class, group work outside of class, via Kodiak/e-mail)?
    • Is the material being learned in the class sequential? Does each week’s material build on the material learned in the previous week(s)?
    • Are there other sections of the class that the student could attend to catch up on missed material?
  • What policies exist for making up missed exams, pop quizzes? Turning in late work?
    • Does the class use Kodiak?
    • Could missed assignments be turned in via discussion board/e-mail?
    • Are tests to be taken at a specific time and place, or is there a window when the test can be taken?
    • Is it possible for students to “work ahead” in this class?
    • Students who have disabilities that affect attendance often do not go to the doctor when feeling poorly and might not be able to provide a doctor’s note for each absence.

If you have any questions or concerns about Flexibility in Attendance, contact Student Disability Services at 413-782-1258 before discussing the accommodation with the student.