Flexibility of Attendance Policies
What is it?
This accommodation is appropriate when a student has a chronic physical or mental condition/disability with brief, periodic flare-ups that legitimately impact course attendance/assignments on occasion.
If a student believes he/she/they will, due to a disability, miss class on occasion, miss a test specifically because of a periodic flare-up, or miss an assignment deadline specifically because of a periodic flare-up, then the student should explore options with an Access Counselor in ODR. Through the information provided, the Access Counselor and the ODR staff will determine whether the Modification of Attendance Policy is reasonable. Course requirements vary widely due to course structure, and additional flexibility cannot always be guaranteed.
Please note that this accommodation is specifically designed to build in a slight amount of flexibility around attendance, test dates, and course deadlines to specifically address the impact of brief, periodic health or medical experience that interferes with these course activities. 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.
Office of Disability Resources Assessment
Once a student has completed the Public Accommodation Request (or a Supplemental Accommodation Request for those students who had previously completed the initial process to request accommodations with ODR), ODR staff will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the impact of the disability, their disability-related barriers, the significance of attendance flexibility in relation to their academic performance, and any unique characteristics of their course of study and classes. Even if ODR’s assessment reflects that attendance flexibility would be an appropriate accommodation, each course must be reviewed to determine whether the accommodation would be reasonable considering course structure, design, and requirements. Therefore, students will be asked to discuss with their Access Counselor specific requirements in detail for each course, and the logistics of ensuring that they meet their responsibilities concerning missed classwork or assessments. A course discussion will be completed every semester the accommodation is renewed.
As a part of the process, ODR staff will consult with course instructors to clarify issues related to essential academic requirements, available options for make-up work, and whether a requested accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of a program, course, or activity. Based on those discussions, it is possible that a decision will be made that attendance modification would not be an appropriate accommodation for certain programs and/or courses because of their unique characteristics. Following the student’s discussion of courses with their Access Counselor for a given semester and consultation with all faculty, ODR will provide the student and faculty member with all attendance-related modification information for each course.
ODR staff will determine whether a Flexibility to Course Attendance Policies is reasonable, including under what circumstances the accommodation should be used and the amount of flexibility necessary. The approved accommodation may vary based on the nature of the program and/or course. If it is determined that there are certain situations where the provision of the accommodation would not be reasonable, alternative accommodations will be considered and offered, if appropriate.
Along with their Flexibility of Attendance Policy accommodation request, students should also provide any available documentation that indicates a history of disability diagnosis. This step may save you time later. Please note that students should not delay meeting with ODR out of concerns for not having the right paperwork. Each Access Counselor will discuss any specific third-party documentation needs during your meeting and steps you can take after the meeting.
Students: How to Initiate the Process for a Flexibility of Attendance Policy Accommodation
For students who have already completed their initial accommodation request meeting with ODR and have been approved for the Flexibility of Attendance Policy accommodation, first renew your academic accommodations for each semester via Accommodate. Once the semester accommodation request has been received by ODR, your Access Counselor will follow up with you and begin creating plans for your courses.
It is very important that you initiate the process before or at the beginning of the semester. Do not wait until after you have already missed something. Until a plan is created, no accommodation is in place and the accommodation will not be retroactive to cover missed coursework.
Expected Communication: Once a plan is created, the student must notify the instructor prior to, or within 24 hours after, the missed class or task (assignment, quiz, etc.).
If you experience a course or professor-related accommodation situation that concerns you, contact ODR as soon as you feel reasonable access is not happening; ODR cannot promise an outcome to your personal satisfaction but does promise to consider all relevant variables to determine reasonable access and accommodations.
This accommodation is not designed to comprehensively address and fully support a student who misses or is unable to participate in more than one week’s worth of classes in succession. In these situations, students and professors will often need to discuss if it is possible to adequately address missed work and to maintain course pace. If a Flexibility of Attendance Policy plan was previously established, it may need to be revisited and a new plan may need to be established. 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. Students should be aware of the College’s course withdrawal policy and deadlines.
Please review our Expectations for Using the Modification of Attendance Policy Accommodation Effectively webpage for further guidance.