Attendance is important for long-term and consistent academic success. Requests for modification of attendance or tardy policies are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This is most often approved in cases where a student has a disability condition which could flare up intermittently, but not require a visit to the doctor, thereby not providing the often-requested medical excuse. Examples could include seizures, brittle diabetes, debilitating nausea from chemotherapy, gastrointestinal distress from Crohn’s Disease, or a flare-up of panic disorder. Any of these situations would be familiar to the student and treatment could simply include their usual medications, additional sleep, etc. A medical visit might be unnecessary and perhaps even denied by insurance.
There may, however, be situations where no modification, or very limited modification, is possible. It is difficult to “make up” events such as frequent guest speakers, science labs, group presentations, etc. There may be times when no “penalty” might be applied, yet due to the absence no participation points can be earned. Faculty should review their policy in regards to how they treat other “approved” absences (such as class field trips, athletic participation, theater or music performances, etc). Students should carefully examine attendance and tardy policies on each syllabus and then discuss their specific needs with the DSS office. DSS staff may contact faculty regarding this request to examine the essential functions of the class before making a determination.
In the event that attendance modification is recommended, students have the obligation to contact faculty regarding each absence – before the absence if possible, or as soon as possible afterward. The type of contact can be specified by the faculty (phone message, email, etc.) The student is responsible for contacting faculty regarding any missed assignments, and must turn in such work within agreed-upon deadlines.
Modification of tardy policy generally applies to situations where campus mobility is an issue, such as when a student has physical difficulty traveling between two classrooms and could occasionally be late. If this becomes a daily issue, then DSS can determine if one class could be relocated to prevent chronic tardiness (which can be very disruptive). Priority registration is helpful in setting a schedule with appropriate time allowances, but available class sections may limit options.
Tardiness, or the need to occasionally leave class unexpectedly, may also be addressed when dealing with a disability condition with unpredictable flare-ups such as Crohn’s, migraines or diabetes. The student might be slightly late, or need to leave in the midst of class - without having to provide a medical explanation in front of other students.