The Disability Resource Center (DRC) recognizes that participation in courses, labs, examinations, and other academic required activities is expected of all students. In every course, the instructor identifies and defines the essential course requirements including class attendance. The instructor determines the acceptable number of excused absences in light of these requirements. Generally, instructors state essential course requirements and the course attendance policy on their syllabi.

Instructors are neither expected to compromise the essential course requirements nor fundamentally alter the course regardless of the student's medical condition. However, in most cases when medical absences occur, instructors have agreed to reasonable adjustments and equivalent ways for students to successfully complete essential course requirements without compromising course standards. This is usually best accomplished by the student, instructor and, if needed, a disability specialist working together as a team. Some methods that may be used and considered include:

  • Assigning comparable makeup work or altering timelines for course work and tests
  • Allowing students to attend repeat lectures given at other course sections
  • Giving students an incomplete grade to allow an opportunity to fulfill course requirements through extended time after the semester, through independent study, or by attending class lectures the following semester
  • Allowing students to withdraw from the class before the withdrawal deadline so they can repeat the class during another semester when their medical condition has stabilized

Requests for attendance considerations must be timely and reasonable. Instructors need to be informed with enough time to provide the adjustment.

Student Responsibilities

  • Students must apply for DRC services, and provide current documentation regarding their medical condition. Students should ask medical providers to include information about class attendance in the documentation.
  • Students should register for courses as early as possible. We strongly advise students to meet with instructors to investigate attendance policies and course requirements as they choose their courses. Students should plan for individualized needs when choosing courses and sections. For example, scheduling classes at a certain time of day, scheduling breaks between classes, etc.
  • Students should carefully review the syllabus for each course to learn the essential requirements and the attendance policy for the course.
  • Students are advised to take an active part in working with the instructor to identify adjustments that are equitable and maintain course standards. A disability specialist is available to assist students and instructors as needed.
  • When an absence is due to a medical or disability condition, students should notify the professors and the disability specialist for each absence immediately. When possible, students should inform them of their expected date of return to class.
  • Students should not assume that their absence will be excused just because they are registered with the DRC.
  • Unless adjusted by the instructor, students are responsible for adhering to all scheduled deadlines for class assignments and tests.
  • Any absence not due to the medical condition is excluded from the above procedures.

Faculty Considerations

  • Is attendance an essential part of your course?
  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves?
  • Do student contributions in class constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method of learning?
  • To what degree does a student's failure to attend class constitute a significant loss of the educational experience of other students in the class?
  • What does the course description and syllabus say regarding attendance?
  • What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated?