Attendance Policy Modifications
About the Accommodation
This accommodation is approved when your disability can affect your ability to attend class or participate in academic activities.
- This accommodation is not meant to facilitate unlimited absences. A substantial number of absences may impact your ability to meet course objectives, course grade, or eligibility to pass the class.
- You will still be expected to meet the learning objectives of the course.
- You do not need to provide medical documentation of your absence to faculty.
- This accommodation may be implemented differently depending on the class and may not necessarily be reasonable for all classes or class sessions (see below).
- You should contact SDS as soon as concerns arise. Do not wait.
Is This Accommodation Reasonable for a particular class?
The U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided the following guidelines to assess if attendance is an essential part of the class:
- Are these classroom interactions 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 student’s in the class?
- What do the course description and syllabus say?
- Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
Topics for Faculty and Students to Discuss Together
You are expected to communicate with each instructor to discuss how this accommodation will be applied to the class prior to using the accommodation. This conversation can be in person, over zoom, or via email (see below for sample email templates).
The following topics should be addressed in that conversation:
- The number of absences that are allowed with this accommodation (if different than in the syllabus).
- How will you communicate your need to miss class (e.g., email, canvas message, etc.).
- The procedure for accessing missed course content and making up any missed course activities
- Clarify if using the accommodation will affect your participation grade and if it is possible to make up participation points.
Write down all information and make sure both you and your instructor have a copy. (Instructors: we recommend using email to document this information with your students.)
Follow Up/Next Steps
- Notify your instructor of absences in a timely manner, preferably before the class or as soon as possible afterwards.
- Depending on course expectations, requirements, format and structure, this accommodation may be implemented differently in each of your classes.
- Please remember, this accommodation is not active until instructors receive an Accommodation Letter with the accommodation listed on it. Instructors are not required to accommodate absences from before the date on the letter.
Starting the Conversation: Email Templates
Sample Email to Set Up a Meeting
Dear Professor ________,
You should have recently received an email from SDS containing an accommodation letter for me for your __________ class. I am approved by SDS for: Attendance Policy Modification. I would like to discuss with you privately how this accommodation can be implemented in your class. What is a good day and time for us to meet? I am free ____________ (name some blocks of time you are free). I would prefer to meet __________ (over zoom/in person).
Sample Email to Start Email Discussion
Dear Professor _________,
You likely just received an email from SDS containing an accommodation letter for me for your __________ class. I am approved by SDS for: Attendance Policy Modification. I would prefer to converse over email about how the accommodation will be used in your class. Are you able to provide the details specific to this course by using the suggested questions from SDS below, or do you prefer to provide your own breakdown of the policy? I would like to confirm the following items:
The number of absences that are allowed with this accommodation (if different than in the syllabus).
How I will communicate my need to miss class (e.g., email, canvas message, etc.).
The procedure for accessing missed course content and making up any missed course activities
Clarification if using this accommodation will affect my participation grade and if it is possible to make up participation points.