This accommodation is intended to create some flexibility of the attendance policy in the course to allow for a reasonable number of disability-related absences. This does not mean unlimited absences.
For this accommodation, it must first be determined whether or not a modification of the attendance policy would constitute a fundamental alteration of the course. This may be determined by a collaboration between SDAC, the student, and the faculty member. Students with this accommodation have a responsibility to initiate a conversation with their instructor early in the semester, or upon onset of disability, to discuss how this accommodation applies to each course. If a student needs assistance with this conversation, they should contact their SDAC Advisor to facilitate. Questions to guide the conversation may include:
- What does the course description and syllabus say?
- What elements of the class experience are used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
- To what extent is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
- To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- What is a protocol for making up missed work or assignments, including quizzes/exams? How does the instructor want to be contacted about absences?
If it is determined that additional absences would be appropriate in the course, then the student, faculty, and SDAC (if necessary) must dialogue to determine an appropriate number of absences beyond what is stated in the syllabus. This number is going to be variable for each course, and may take into account the format in which the course is taught, number of course meetings, and the level of interaction required by the student.
Students are also advised that they still bear the responsibility to communicate with instructors about their absences as they occur, keep up with the reading, obtain class notes from a fellow student, and make up any assignments they may have missed. Instructors are not obligated to create extra work for either the student or themselves as a substitute for “participation” in class or missed assignments. However, instructors are encouraged to consider whether there are opportunities for the student to mitigate or “make up” their absence.
This accommodation is subject to a reasonableness standard, and is not appropriate in every circumstance. In cases where attendance is an essential part of the class, a withdrawal or an incomplete may be considered a reasonable alternative if absences become excessive. Please contact SDAC should absences become excessive so we can dialogue about this.