Disability-Related Modification of Attendance Policy

Attendance is essential for long-term and consistent academic success. Requests for modification of attendance or tardy policies are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and could vary depending on the disability symptoms and the format of the class (in-person vs asynchronous or synchronous online). Modification of attendance/tardy policy is most often approved in cases where a student has a disability condition which could flare up intermittently, but not require a visit to the doctor, thereby not providing the often-requested medical excuse.  Examples could include seizures, diabetes, debilitating nausea from chemotherapy, migraines, gastrointestinal distress from Crohn’s Disease, or a flare-up of bipolar disorder or a panic disorder.  Any of these situations would be familiar to the student and treatment could simply include their usual medications, additional sleep, etc.  Repeated medical visits might be unnecessary and could create a financial burden.

It should be noted that there may be situations where no, or very limited, modification is possible.  It is difficult to “make up” events such as guest speakers, science labs, observations, or group presentations.  There may be times when no “penalty” might be applied, yet due to the absence, no participation points can be earned.  Attendance and make-up policies will be examined in regards to how other “approved” absences (such as class field trips, athletic participation, theater or music performances, etc.) are handled. DSS staff will typically contact faculty to discuss the essential functions of the class and the existing attendance policy before making a customized recommendation.

In the event that any attendance modification is recommended, students will generally have an obligation to contact faculty regarding each absence – before the absence if possible, or as soon as possible afterward.  The type of contact will usually be specified in the accommodation statement.  The student is always responsible for contacting faculty regarding any missed assignments, and all missed tests or make-up work should be completed within agreed-upon deadlines. Faculty should always contact DSS if absences become excessive or there is a belief that an accommodation is being used inappropriately.

Modification of tardy policy generally applies to situations where campus mobility is an issue, such as when a student has physical difficulty traveling between two classrooms and could occasionally be late.  If this becomes a daily issue, then DSS can determine if one class could be relocated to prevent chronic tardiness (which can be very disruptive). This kind of difficulty may be avoided through the use of Priority Registration, but available class sections may limit options.

Tardiness, or the need to occasionally leave class unexpectedly, may also be addressed when dealing with a disability condition with unpredictable flare-ups such as Crohn’s, migraines or diabetes. The student might be slightly late, or need to leave in the midst of class – without having to provide a medical explanation in front of other students.