Disability Services


Flexible Attendance Accommodation

Attendance requirements vary widely from course to course: lab, activity and hands-on courses usually involve a lot of in-class learning that cannot be easily made up outside of class, while lecture classes provide more flexibility. Likewise, each instructor may have a different policy for student attendance.

Flexible Attendance Accommodation may be appropriate when a student has a chronic disabling physical or mental condition that is cyclic in nature. The student’s condition is stable; however, there are periodic flare ups that prevent a student from attending classes and are unpredictable. Examples include, but are not limited to: Crohn’s Disease, chronic severe migraines, Sickle Cell Anemia, various autoimmune conditions, Bipolar, panic attacks, etc. Documentation (i.e., doctor’s note) is not required when a student is absent due to a disability flare up.

If a student believes s/he will miss class with some frequency due to a disability, the student must talk with the Disability Specialist as early in the semester as possible. During that conversation, the Disability Specialist will determine whether an attendance accommodation is reasonable.  This accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis because of course differences.

In determining whether an accommodation to a course attendance policy is reasonable, the Disability Specialist will communicate with the respective course instructors to understand:

  • Essential components of the course;
  • The reasons for the attendance policy;
  • How much interaction there is in class between the instructor and student;
  • How much of the learning is based on in-class participation;
  • How other students’ learning is impacted if any student misses class a lot;
  • When flexibility in the attendance policy is available for other reasons, such as athletic travel.


This policy does not provide students with a license to miss class whenever. Most every class has an absence limit that, once exceeded, makes it impossible to satisfy course objectives.

The student is responsible for completing all class work.  

Extensions for assignments and arrangements for making up missed tests CANNOT be promised as a component of this accommodation.

In some cases, it may be reasonable to miss class but not reasonable to miss a test and thus the course policy for missed tests must be followed. Students are highly encouraged to make every effort to not miss a class on key course dates.

DSS promotes good time and project management skills as well as effective decision-making relative to personal circumstances. This accommodation does not address inefficiencies in these areas. 

Once a Flexible Attendance Accommodation plan has been implemented, then the student, DSS and the course instructor will refer to it as needed as course scenarios evolve.

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