Students with chronic medical conditions and/or psychological disorders may qualify for flexibility with course deadlines, attendance, tardies and/or breaks during class. Qualifying conditions may temporarily impair the student's ability to attend every class, arrive on time to class, sit through the entire class or meet course deadlines. Some common reasons for missing class or needing an extension include, but are not limited to: adverse reactions to medications, necessary urgent treatment, hospitalizations and episodic flare‐ups of a disability.  

This accommodation provides students the opportunity to meet course learning objectives, with accommodation for course policies that could cause undue penalty for circumstances related to the student’s disability.

SDS recommends that students and faculty meet as early in the semester as possible to discuss the following:  

  • How will the student request the accommodation? (SDS recommends that flexibility requests be made in writing and faculty respond in writing for record-keeping purposes)  
  • Does the faculty member have a preferred time frame to submit a request for this accommodation? ( SDS recommends that students notify faculty as soon as they know they will not make it to class or will not meet a deadline)
  • When the student makes a request for an extended deadline, how long will the student be granted?
  • When the student makes a request for flexibility with an attendance policy, how many more absences will be granted?
  • Will there be a partial penalty for absences at some point? How many absences are excessive for any student in the class?
  • Students and faculty are welcome to contact the student’s disability counselor to consult about any questions that may arise from this discussion

Students should consider:

How will I communicate with my professors about my need for flexibility during the semester?

Students are responsible for requesting flexibility with attendance, deadlines, tardies and/or breaks from faculty
each time they need it throughout the semester.  Sharing your letter with your professor provides proof that you qualify for this accommodation, but you must make a specific request to a specific professor in order to implement this accommodation. Students should contact their professor in a reasonable amount of time concerning their need for flexibility and speak directly with the faculty member about the accommodation.  

How much flexibility does my professor have to provide?

This accommodation is not unlimited and requires input from your professor about how it will be implemented in each course.  SDS recommends reading your syllabi thoroughly so you understand each course's specific attendance, deadline or tardy policies.  It is your responsibility to negotiate a reasonable accommodation with each professor.  It is likely that the accommodation will be implemented differently in each class depending on its stated policies.  It is also your responsibility to keep up with the number of absences (excused or unexcused) you have in each course and to contact the faculty member and/or your disability counselor if you have questions or concerns.

Faculty should consider:

How will I implement this accommodation in my course? 

It is important to consider how you will implement this accommodation in your class as you are creating course policies.  This accommodation is not intended to provide unlimited flexibility to students. SDS always discusses the limitations of this accommodation with students so they understand that it is determined in keeping with the integrity of the course.  The accommodation should be provided only to the extent that it is reasonable given your syllabus policies and course learning objectives. This means that you should consider what your stated attendance/deadline/tardy policies are, and how you could accommodate a student that may have disability-related reasons for not meeting those policies.  Faculty are only required to provide a reasonable level of flexibility in consultation with SDS.

What are the faculty responsibilities?

Faculty are responsible for responding to a student’s request for flexibility and communicating a decision regarding flexibility in a timely manner. Faculty do not have to provide flexibility to a student if the student has not made a direct request for flexibility to the faculty member or the request is substantially late (SDS should be consulted as needed).  Qualifying for this accommodation and sharing a letter with this accommodation is not sufficient to mandate flexibility in all situations. Faculty should contact Student Disability Services by email or phone if you need further consultation regarding a specific request.  

What should I do if I have questions about the implementation of this accommodation?

SDS welcomes faculty emails and phone calls to discuss concerns about this accommodation or a particular student's request/s.  It is important the accommodation implementation does not fundamentally alter the course objectives. The student’s disability counselor is a useful resource for detailed information regarding the student’s needs and creative ways to fulfill the accommodation.  SDS welcomes input from faculty regarding course content, methods, and essential components in order to maintain the integrity of a course.