Medical Absences/Attendance Issues


Attendance policies vary from course to course and depend on the nature of the course itself.

  • Faculty usually set their own attendance policies; however, there are times faculty need to consider whether or not flexibility in class attendance can be accommodated for students with disabilities.
  • Some classes that are composed of strictly lectures, may provide more flexibility
  • Hands on intensive courses including labs, activities, group work, involve more in-class learning that cannot easily be made up

The following factors should be considered when deciding whether attendance flexibility is a reasonable accommodation and whether or not an essential element of a course:

  • Are there classroom interactions between the instructor and the students and among students
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process
  • Does the functional 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 the other students in the course?
  • What level of leniency allowed to students without disabilities who have legitimate reasons for missing additional classes (example death in the family, car accident, athletic events)?
  • What does the course description and syllabus say?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

If you feel missing class is something you will miss often due to your disability you should:

  • Make an appointment to talk to the DRC director early as possible
  • Discuss your previous experiences
  • Discuss expectations for what you expect for the current semester
  • Gather and read over class syllabi carefully

If it is determined that attendance is a reasonable course accommodation as a student you:

  • Cannot miss class whenever you'd like
  • Are still responsible for all course work and will need to plan how you will make-up missed work
  • Will need to work out an arrangement with your instructor for extensions on assignments, missed test/quizzes on an individual basis.

Sometimes students with disabilities experience health issues that are unexpected.  If absences become excessive unexpectedly, please contact the Disability Resource Center to find out about a medical withdrawal, late drop,  or incomplete as a reasonable alternative.