Attendance for Students with Episodic Medical Conditions

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Information for Faculty  

Some students with episodic medical conditions may be eligible to receive modifications to course attendance requirements. In the case when students are approved for this type of accommodation, it will appear on the Faculty Notification Letter, which is emailed to the instructor of record.  

The University must use an interactive process in determining certain academic adjustments, such as attendance modificationsFaculty determine course attendance policies and are not required to lower standards. However, faculty are asked to consider the essential course learning objectives when considering attendance modifications for disabled students.  

In some cases, attendance is fundamental to course objectives. For example, students may be required to interact with others in the class, to demonstrate the ability to think and argue critically, or to participate in group projects. In other instances, faculty may determine that students can master course content despite some or many absences. 

Consider the following questions to determine if class attendance is fundamental to course participation: 

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, and among students? 
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process? 
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon 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 other students in the class? 
  • What does the course description and syllabus say? 
  • What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated? 
  • What are classroom practices and policies regarding attendance? 

Faculty should make their policies clear and reinforce this information by including it on the course syllabus. As well, policies regarding make-up work and missed quizzes and exams should be clearly stated 

  • When developing an attendance policy, avoid generic statements such as: “Absences are not allowed in this course.”  
  • It is best to tie attendance policies to the essential course learning objectives. 
  • If attendance and participation is fundamental to the course and faculty intend restrict absences, consider using wording like this: "Your presence is fundamental to meeting the objectives of this course because...”  Consequently, the absence policy is...”