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Guidance on Modified Attendance Accommodations

Introduction

The Office of Accessibility works with students, faculty, and staff to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities to provide equal opportunities and access to the educational environment. All students, with or without reasonable accommodations, are held to the same academic standards and are required to meet technical course and degree requirements, including regular class attendance and coursework completion.

The Modified Attendance Accommodation is designed for students who, due to the nature of their chronic physical or mental condition/disability, may experience a brief, episodic flare-up impeding their ability to attend class, submit an assignment on the schedule due date, or take an exam or quiz on the scheduled date or time. It is not designed to support a substantial number of missed classes (sporadic or consecutive) or lengthy assignment extensions, or lengthy delays in taking an exam for reasons beyond brief, periodic flare-ups. In some cases, reasonable adjustments may not be possible, and the student’s final grade may be impacted should the student choose to stay in the course. The Modified Attendance Accommodation is only to be utilized for disability-related reasons on record with the Office of Accessibility Services (e.g., not the common cold, caregiving, travel, or other personal reasons). 

Determination of the extent to which this accommodation is reasonable given the course format and learning objectives should be made on a course-by-course basis directly with the course instructor. To facilitate this conversation, the Office of Accessibility provides a Modified Attendance form to be completed by the student and the instructor, or the OAS and the instructor, per student request. While completing the Modified Attendance Accommodation form, the student and instructor (or OAS and instructor) should refer to the course syllabus pertaining to policies on assignment deadlines, attendance, and make-up exams/quizzes that are applicable to all students enrolled in the course. This accommodation is only active if a student has submitted their Letter of Accommodation to their instructor and the Modified Attendance Agreement form has been completed.

The Modified Attendance Accommodation should not fundamentally alter the core requirements of a course. If an instructor has questions or concerns regarding the Modified Attendance Accommodation given the course format and learning objectives, they should contact the Office of Accessibility Services. Faculty should not approach students directly with concerns regarding approved accommodations.

Accommodation Request Process

To request a Modified Attendance accommodation, students need to follow the OAS Steps for Requesting Academic Accommodations, which includes completion of the Academic Accommodation Request Form and participating in a meeting with the Assistant Dean for Accessibility. Along with their Modification of Attendance Policy accommodation request, students should also provide any available documentation that indicates a history of disability diagnosis. Please refer to our Documentation Guidelines webpage for more information. Please note that students should not delay meeting with OAS out of concern for not having access to documentation. The Assistant Dean will discuss any specific third party documentation needs during your meeting and steps you can take after the meeting. 

Attendance

Students who have an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation, due to the nature of their disability-related flare-up, may not be able to attend class that day. Students who have an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation will be provided with a Modified Attendance Agreement Form, which they can complete with the instructor, or the OAS will complete with the instructor per the student’s request.1 The course instructor will identify a reasonable number of allowed absences, based on the course format and learning objectives. A reasonable number of allotted absences should help to maintain the student’s progress in the course (i.e., Six absences for a 6-week course may not be reasonable). When considering the number of allowed absences, consider the number of excused absences already allowed to all students in the course, per the course attendance policy.

When a student with an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation will be absent from class due to disability-related reasons, the student will contact the instructor prior to or no later than 24 hours after class, unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., the student is hospitalized and unable to communicate). It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the material and notes from missed classes. In the event of an extenuating circumstance in which the student misses class for an extended period of time (e.g., hospitalization), they may contact the Office of Accessibility or the Dean of Students for guidance.

When attendance is an integral part of how a course is taught or how learning is demonstrated and measured, there is a point at which disability-related absences can no longer be reasonably accommodated. If at any point the instructor or student has questions or concerns about this process, the Modified Attendance Agreement form, or the provision of this accommodation, please contact the Office of Accessibilities Services as soon as possible to address concerns and work to resolve them.

Requests for continual absences beyond the agreed upon allowed absences or absence due to non-disability-related reasons go beyond the scope of the Modified Attendance Accommodation. If the maximum number of allowed absences is exceeded during the semester, the student and instructor must meet to discuss an appropriate course of action (e.g. withdrawal from the course, a grade of Incomplete, a failing grade, a review of the number of absences allowed, etc., depending on the circumstances). The OAS is available to consult with the instructor and student to come to a reasonable solution.

Flexible Deadlines on Assignments

Students who have an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation, due to the nature of their disability-related flare-up, may not be able to submit an assignment on the scheduled due date. Students who have an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation will be provided a Modified Attendance Form, which they can complete with the instructor, or the OAS will complete with the instructor per the student’s request to identify a reasonable number of extensions and/or extension time frame, based on the course format and learning objectives. A reasonable number of extensions and/or extension time frame should help to maintain the student’s progress in the course (i.e., an extension of 7 days for weekly assignments may not be reasonable). If there is an extenuating circumstance in which the student may require a longer extension, the OAS will contact the instructor. Students with a Modified Attendance Accommodation should be provided with the same flexibility in submitting assignments as all other students enrolled in the course. In the event a student with an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation requires an assignment extension due to disability-related reasons, the student will contact the instructor prior to or within 24 hours of the assignment due date, unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., the student is hospitalized and unable to communicate).

In general, assignments with more than one week to complete should be completed on time with proper management and planning and only warrant an accommodation when an unexpected disability related episode occurs that prevents the student from following through, regardless of how much the student got done prior to that time. Requests for continual extensions beyond the agreed upon submission time frame, missed work, retroactive requests, or requests for extensions due to non-disability-related reasons are not within the scope of the Modified Attendance Accommodation.

Students are responsible for managing their time effectively and determining how to appropriately structure their time throughout the semester given their course schedule in order to complete all required coursework. This accommodation does not modify coursework requirements. If students require assistance with time management and completing work, the OAS will help connect the student with campus resources and/or identify other potential accommodations, such as a Reduced Course Load.

Best practice for instructors is to provide all students with a clear and comprehensive syllabus and course calendar so students have the opportunity to prepare and manage their time accordingly throughout the semester. Changes to the syllabus and/or course calendar should be made clear to students within a reasonable time frame (e.g., 1-2 weeks).

Make-up Exams and Quizzes

Students with an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation may miss an exam or quiz on the scheduled date, due to a disability-related flare-up. Students who have an approved Modified Attendance Accommodation will be provided a Modified Attendance Form, which they can complete with the instructor, or the OAS will complete with the instructor per the student’s request to identify a reasonable number of days students may have to make up a quiz/exam, based on the course format, progression through material, and learning objectives. When considering the number of allowed make-up exams/quizzes, an instructor should consider the number of make-up exams/quizzes already allowed to all students in the course, per the course syllabus policy. The student needs to inform the instructor if they will miss an exam/quiz no earlier than 24 hours prior to, or the day of, the exam/quiz. Further, it is recommended the student takes the exam/quiz within 24-48 hours of the original scheduled date of the exam/quiz.  If there is an extenuating circumstance in which the student may require a longer extension to take the quiz/exam, the OAS will contact the instructor.

Faculty reserve the right to write an alternative format of the exam for make-up exams/quizzes, but it must be of equal difficulty from the original exam. Faculty may make arrangements directly with the student for proctoring a make-up quiz/exam, or may request the OAS to proctor the make-up exam in-person or remotely.

Requests for continual make-up exams beyond the agreed upon number of make-up exams and/or time frame, or for non-disability-related reasons go beyond the scope of the Modified Attendance Accommodation. Students are responsible for managing their study time effectively to best prepare for an exam/quiz.

Modified Attendance Accommodation Student Options

Option 1: Communicate with instructors directly and complete the Modified Attendance Accommodation Agreement Form and submit to the OAS as soon as possible. It is recommended within one-two weeks after the start of the semester, or after the accommodation has been approved. The OAS may participate in this conversation, per the student’s request.

Option 2: Office of Accessibility will facilitate communication with the instructor directly. The OAS will provide a copy of the Modified Attendance Accommodation Agreement to the student upon completion.

Student Responsibilities

1.      Students should contact the OAS to request a Modified Attendance accommodation and participate in the interactive process (e.g., Submission of an Academic Request Form and the Modified Attendance accommodation request form and meeting with the Assistant Dean) at the beginning of the semester.

a.  Any absences, late assignments, and/or missed quizzes/exams prior to the approval of a Modified Attendance accommodation cannot be considered as part of the accommodation retroactively.

2.      If approved, elect Option 1 or 2 to complete the Modified Attendance Agreement Form and submit to the OAS as soon as possible. It is recommended within one-two weeks after the start of the semester, or after the accommodation has been approved.

  1. This accommodation is only active if a student has submitted their Letter of Accommodation to their instructor and has completed the agreement form, or requested OAS to complete the agreement form with their instructor

3.      Communicate with your instructor in the event you will be missing class, and/or require a brief extension on an assignment, and/or need to make up an exam/quiz prior to, or no longer than 24 hours.

a. Excessive absences, continual late or missed work goes beyond the scope of this accommodation. If you need assistance with time management, tutoring, or other kinds of support, the OAS can help.

b.  Contact the OAS and your instructors as soon as you experience any substantial changes in your health that may impact your course involvement.

Faculty Responsibilities

1.      Meet with the student and/or OAS staff to complete the Modified Attendance Agreement form for students approved with this accommodation.

2.      If you have questions or concerns regarding the Modified Attendance Accommodation given the course format and learning objectives, contact the Office of Accessibility Services to schedule a meeting with the Assistant Dean.

3.      If the student is exceeding the number of allotted additional absences and is not sufficiently meeting course requirements, speak with the student about options (e.g., reevaluating the Agreement, course withdrawal, Incomplete, if appropriate).  

4.      At no time is the student required to present the faculty member with medical documentation verifying his/her disability related absence for this accommodation. The OAS has access to relevant documentation to verify the legitimacy of need for this accommodation.

Possible considerations when determining if attendance is essential

1.      What does the course description and syllabus say about attendance?

2.      Is attendance factored into the final course grade? What are classroom practices and policies regarding attendance? Is the attendance policy consistently applied?

3.      Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, among students?

4.      Student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?

5.      Does the course rely on student participation as a method for learning? What is the impact on the educational experience of other students in the class?

6.      Is there content only offered in class?

7.      Are assignments used as class content when they are due?

8. Does course material build rapidly upon itself so that delays in meeting learning/assignment objectives impede progression?

Modified Attendance Agreement - Print Version.docx (176 KB)

Modified Attendance Agreement - Fillable Form.docx (187.5 KB)