In compliance with ADAAA Law and Amendments, the Student Accessibility Council cannot determine course attendance policies. Attendance is integral to the pedagogic process, and students should consult The Trinity College Student Handbook for information regarding class attendance and absence policies. Students are also strongly encouraged to consult the class syllabus for specific attendance requirements for individual courses, as attendance expectations can vary from course to course. Students are always strongly encouraged to communicate with the professor should a question arise regarding attendance concerns.
Professors determine policies regarding make-up work, missed quizzes and exams in their classes. A professor is not required to alter standards fundamentally for accommodation purposes. The Student Accessibility Council will issue an accommodation letter verifying the presence of a disability, including temporary impairments and episodic conditions as specified within ADAAA Guidelines. Verification is based upon written medical and/or psychological documentation from an appropriate professional and reviewed by Student Accessibility Council.
There are some conditions and disabilities that may have the potential to impact attendance, and in those specific cases, the Student Accessibility Council will make the recommendation of “flexibility toward absences”. This recommendation is only made when comprehensive medical and /or psychological documentation has been received. The documentation must include a diagnosis and recommendations from professionals in the area of the disability. The student often needs to provide updates from medical and psychological professionals in order receive an updated accommodations letter. Medical and psychological conditions are always kept confidential, and are not shared as part of the accommodation process. The student will often choose to disclose to faculty and staff the nature of their condition, however, the role of the Student Accessibility Council is only to confirm that absences are disability related. A Student Accessibility Council member will meet and communicate confidentially with the student and collect updated documentation.
Flexible attendance may be a reasonable and appropriate consideration for some students who provide documentation that indicates clearly the need for attendance policy flexibility. It is required that student and instructor agree on attendance expectations and communicate with each other when “extend flexibility of attendance policy” issued by as a consideration. Extending flexibility toward attendance should never compromise course objectives or diminish academic standards.
The U.S Office of Civil Rights recently released the following guidelines for higher education professionals to consider in determining what is “flexible and reasonable “ when students have conditions that impact attendance:
- What does the course description and syllabus say about attendance?
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component to the learning process?
- Is the learning experience based on the acquisition of cumulative knowledge?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method of 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?
- To what extent is attendance used to calculate the final grade?
If you have any specific questions about disability related absences, please contact Lori Clapis.