Attendance Accommodations:

• A student with a documented disability, especially one related to a
chronic health condition, may qualify for consideration in regard to
class absences and/or tardiness. Such an accommodation is simply a
request for flexibility in a faculty member’s course attendance policy.
The amount of flexibility will depend on the nature of the class and
whether class participation is a factor in the final grade.

• A student with a disability who is requesting attendance flexibility as an
accommodation is ultimately responsible for completing all required
coursework. This is not a “blank check” that allows a student to have
excessive absences in any given course. In such cases, the student
should consult with their instructor about the options to withdraw from
the course with a passing grade or to receive an incomplete grade
where appropriate.

Office of Civil Rights Cases that guide determination of attendance flexibility as a reasonable accommodation:

1994: This case determined that requests for accommodations for absences due to a disability should be considered on an individual basis. The accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation threatens the integrity of the course as offered. If a course grade is dependent on attendance, it is important that the student and instructor discuss the issue so that the student can make an informed decision about alternatives.

1996: The following six factors should be used in considering if attendance is 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 do the course description and syllabus say?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?