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What Faculty Need to Know About Attendance and Students with Disabilities


Disability Services does not have a role in determining course attendance policies.  Because attendance may be integral to the pedagogic process, these policies are set by faculty or by the departments.  Similarly, faculty also determine policies regarding make-up work and missed quizzes and exams. 

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.  Rarely, faculty may decide that students do not need to attend classes at all.

The ADA does not require faculty to lower academic standards or substantially modify course expectations.  However, some students are eligible for a Flexible Attendance Policy, because of their health.  Generally, this means a student will not lose points for missing class.  Faculty may choose to be consistent with enforcement of their policies; however, each request should be evaluated individually.  Faculty should make their policies clear so that students can make informed choices about which courses to take.


What Disability Services Can Do for Faculty

Disability Services can provide written verification to faculty that a student does indeed have a legitimate disability which may affect class attendance.  In some cases, Disability Services can provide confirmation that a student has suffered a medical flair-up.

Flair-ups are a common symptom for chronic disabilities.  Many psychological and health concerns are episodic in nature, thus students may exhibit varying functional abilities throughout the semester. 

For students with serious health concerns, Disability Services can proctor make-up tests and quizzes for faculty.  Contact the Testing Room Administrator, Missy Pococke, to set up dates and times.



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