Disability-Related Attendance/Due Date Flexibility

Students are responsible for attending classes regularly and meeting all deadlines. Based on the unpredictable, episodic nature of a student's disability, certain accommodations exist that allow the student an equitable opportunity in their academic endeavors. These accommodations may include attendance flexibility and due date extensions and are intended to provide adjustments in the event of a disability-related flare up. The role of the DRC is to engage in an interactive process with each student (and faculty where indicated) on a case-by-case basis to determine reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are individualized, consistent with regulatory standards, and never retroactive. The following guidelines are designed to facilitate understanding and expectations in navigating these accommodations. 

Attendance Flexibility

Attendance Flexibility should be used only when the student experiences an unpredictable flare-up of their disability. It should not be used for routine appointments or family/work obligations. The DRC has established the following procedure for students assigned the accommodation of Attendance Flexibility.

What do flexible attendance accommodations mean?

The number of reasonable absences and lengths of extensions will vary and is based on several factors, including the interactive or participatory nature of a course and any applicable college, department, and accrediting agency regulations. For example, allowing 2-5 absences beyond what would be provided to any student, or agreeing to a deadline extension or exam reschedule with no grade reduction may be reasonable and necessary for the student to access the course. In some cases, flexible accommodations may not be reasonable or appropriate, even if the student has a disability or health condition that otherwise warrants flexibility, e.g., clinical practicums that are required for many graduate and professional programs.

Instructors are not obligated to provide these accommodations retroactively and are never required to re-teach missed material. Students should never be required to provide medical documentation to a professor for disability-related absences, and non-disability related absences are not covered by these accommodations. All assignments, quizzes, and exams must be completed by the last day of the final exam period, unless an incomplete has been requested by the student and granted by the professor.

What is the process?

DRC has established the following procedure for considering requests for flexibility in classroom attendance policies:

  1. Students with disabilities request their accommodations each semester.
  2. If the DRC makes the determination that flexible attendance may be a reasonable accommodation, DRC approves the accommodation. Instructors are then sent a faculty notification letter via email that outlines all accommodations the student has requested each semester.
  3. The student is advised to meet with each instructor and discuss their intent to utilize the flexible attendance guidelines and is encouraged to utilize the guidelines below and agreement template in AIM when meeting with instructors to discuss their accommodations.
  4. The student is responsible for scheduling an appointment with each instructor to discuss and come to an agreement on how flexible attendance will be administered in the course. It is recommended that the student and instructor start their discussion by reviewing the syllabus together, paying particular attention to course attendance policies and learning objectives, discussing how and when the student will inform the instructor when they are missing class due to disability and establishing time frames to turn in missed work or reschedule missed exams. To assist in this process, please use the “Agreements with Instructor” form, which can be located in your AIM student profile under “my accommodations”. Complete this form during your meeting with your instructor.
  5. If a disagreement arises on one or more points of the agreement, the student and/or instructor must contact the DRC immediately. In consultation with the student and the instructor, DRC will then determine the appropriate level of flexible attendance to be granted, if any. Guidance from the Office of Civil Rights suggests factors considered include, but are not limited to, the student’s individual circumstances as well as the following:

    • What does the course description and syllabus say regarding attendance?
    • By what method is the final grade calculated?
    • Is there regular classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves?
    • Do student contributions in class contribute 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 class?
    • Is there an alternative way for the student to make up class participation?
    • Have exceptions been made for extenuating circumstances other than disability?

    DRC’s determination will be communicated in writing to the student and instructor.

Instructor Responsibilities

  1. As in all instances of students with disabilities, instructors should not ask about the specifics of the disability and its limitation, but if the student disclosed that information, instructors should keep it confidential.
  2. Instructors should be available to discuss he accommodations with the with student ad be clear in their expectations, as the agreement will guide the terms of the accommodation.
  3. Instructors should consider the maximum number of absences allowed for the course which would still allow the student to meet technical standards, fundamental course objectives and meet any accreditation requirements of the program.
  4. Instructors should never deny an accommodation approved by the DRC without first contacting the DRC.
  5. If, at any time, the instructor has concerns about a requested accommodation, they should contact the DRC as soon as possible.

Student Responsibilities

  1. Students should schedule an appointment and meet with the instructor to have a conversation about flexible attendance at the beginning of the semester or as soon as they have registered with the DRC and requested to use flexible attendance accommodations.
  2. During the meeting, the student should clearly express their needs as they will guide the specific terms of the agreement on how the accommodation will be administered in the course. To assist in in this process, please use the “Agreements with Instructor” form, which can be located in your AIM student profile under “my accommodations”.  Complete this form during your meeting with your instructor. 
  3. When disability-related absences have occurred/will occur, students are responsible for contacting the instructor as soon as possible and, as necessary, informing the instructor as to when the student will return to class. If the student is unable to contact the instructor themselves, they should have someone in mind to contact the instructor on their behalf.
  4. This accommodation potentially provides relief from requirements for physical attendance in classes. The student is responsible for all course material, including materials covered or work done during such disability-necessitated absences.  The student should be aware that they are still required to meet all the course’s core learning objective and curricular outcomes. Extensions of deadlines for assignments due and arrangements for making up texts and exams during disability related absences must be address in conversation with instructors is highly recommended to be written down so both instructor and student have the agreement to reference.  To assist in in this process, please use the “Agreements with Instructor” form, which can be located in your AIM student profile under “my accommodations”.  Complete this form during your meeting with your instructor. 
  5. If, at any time, the student believes an instructor is not honoring the terms of the agreement, the student should contact the DRC as soon as possible. The DRC will then contact the instructor to gather additional information and discuss available options.
  6. If the student is unable to meet the terms of the agreement, the student should first visit with their instructor to determine what possibilities exist for additional flexibility, if any. The student or instructor is encouraged to confer with the DRC.

Due Date Flexibility

The DRC recognizes that allowing extensions may be a reasonable accommodation. Consideration of Due Date Flexibility does not imply a blanket approval for late submissions; it should be used only when the student experiences an unpredictable flare-up of their disability. It should not be used for routine appointments, as a substitution for poor time management, or family/work obligations. 

What do due date flexibility accommodations mean?

The lengths of extensions will vary and is based on several factors including the needs of the student and the nature of the assignment.

Instructors are not obligated to provide these accommodations retroactively.  The flexible deadlines do not exceed the length of course.  All assignments, quizzes, and exams must be completed by the last day of the final period (or final date of the class if an 8 week or less course), unless an incomplete has been requested by the student and granted by the professor.

What is the process?

DRC has established the following procedure for considering requests for flexibility in assignment deadlines:

  1. Students with disabilities request accommodations each semester.
  2. If DRC makes a determination that flexible assignment deadlines may be a reasonable accommodation, DRC approves the accommodation. Instructors are then sent a faculty notification letter via email that outlines all accommodations the student has requested for each course.
  3. The student is advised to meet with each instructor and discuss their intent to utilize the flexible assignment accommodation in their course. Each student is informed of the flexible assignment deadline guidelines and is encouraged to utilize the guidelines below and agreement template in AIM when meeting with instructors to discuss their accommodations.
  4. The student is responsible for scheduling an appointment with each instructor to discuss and come to an agreement on how flexible assignment deadlines will be administered in the course. It is recommended that the student and instructor start their discussion by reviewing the syllabus together, paying particular attention to assignment deadline policies and learning objectives and to put into writing the mutually agreed upon arrangement.  To assist in this process, please complete the “Agreements with Instructors”, located in your AIM profile under My Accommodations for each course you are requesting due date flexibility for your assignments.
  5. If a disagreement arises on one or more points of the agreement, the student and/or instructor must contact DRC immediately. In consultation with the student and the instructor, DRC will then determine the appropriate level of assignment flexibility deadlines to be granted if any.  Guidance from the Office of Civil Rights suggest factors considered include, but are not limited to, the student’s individual circumstances as well as the following:

    • What does the course description and syllabus say regarding assignment deadlines?
    • By what method is the final grade calculated?
    • Will the assignment be discussed in class at a particular time?
    • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon assignments being turned in at the designated time?
    • To what degree does a student’s failure to turn in an assignment by the deadline constitute a significant loss of the educational experience of other students in the class?
    • Is there an alternative to provide the student additional time to complete assignments without exceeding the deadline?
    • Have exceptions been made for extenuating circumstances to extend deadlines other than disability?

    DRC’s determination will be communicated in writing to the student and the instructor. 

Instructor Responsibilities

  1. As in all instances of students with disabilities, instructors should not ask about the specifics of the disability and its limitations, but if the student discloses that information, instructors should keep it confidential.
  2. Instructors should be available to discuss the accommodations with the student to be clear in their expectations in completing the “Agreements with Instructors” form in AIM as the agreement will guide the terms of the accommodation. The student will need to access this from their AIM student profile and complete the information with you during your meeting.
  3. Instructors should never deny an accommodation approved by the DRC without first contacting the DRC.
  4. If, at any time, the instructor has concerns about a requested accommodation, they should contact the DRC as soon as possible. 

Student Responsibilities

  1. Students should schedule an appointment and meet with the instructor to have a conversation about flexible assignment deadlines at the beginning for the semester or as soon as they have registered with the DRC and requested to use flexible due date accommodations.
  2. During the meeting, the student should clearly express their needs as they will guide the specific terms of the agreement. To assist in in this process, please use the “Agreements with Instructor” form, which can be located in your AIM student profile under “my accommodations”.  Complete this form during your meeting with your instructor. 
  3. The accommodation potentially provides relief from meeting specific assignment deadlines should they coincide with a disability flare-up. The student is responsible for notifying the instructor in advance of the assignment deadline of their need to utilize their accommodation for an extension of a particular assignment.
  4. The student is responsible for all assignments as outlines in the course syllabus.
  5. Students are required to meet all of the course’s core learning objectives and curricular outcomes.
  6. If, at any time, the student believes an instructor is not honoring the terms of the agreement, the student should contact DRC as soon as possible. DRC will then contact the instructor to gather additional information and discuss available options.
  7. If the student is unable to meet the terms of the agreement, the student should first visit with the instructor to determine what possibilities exist for additional flexibility, if any. The student or instructor is encouraged to confer with the DRC.