The University of Tampa views class attendance as an individual student responsibility, and it is expected that students follow established classroom attendance policies. Some students with a disability and/or medical/mental health condition that is chronic and/or episodic/cyclical in nature may request a modified attendance accommodation.
Determining how many absences are reasonable for a modified attendance accommodation
The following guidelines should be used in considering whether following the attendance policy/practice will fundamentally alter an essential part of the academic program/course:
- 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 on 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 do the course description and syllabus say?
- Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
Once an accommodation is approved by Student Accessibility Services (SAS) the accommodation will be provided unless the accommodation fundamentally alters an essential part of the course/program or no longer reasonable.
When a student presents a request for modified attendance, SAS will follow its process for reviewing accommodation requests. This includes review of appropriate and comprehensive medical documentation related to the disability and/or medical/mental health condition and the rationale for the requested accommodation to make a determination. Accommodations are not retroactive and will not apply when a student has not notified their instructor of the approved accommodation. No medical or psychological information will be shared with instructors. SAS will only confirm the absences are related to a disability and/or medical/mental health condition.
Students must request a modified attendance accommodation by filling out an accommodation request form.
The student must supply supporting documentation from a qualified professional identifying the diagnosis and need for the requested accommodation. Please see the documentation requirements.
The Documentation Review Committee will review the request and the supporting documentation to determine eligibility.
- If a student is determined eligible, a welcome appointment will be scheduled. A student who is found eligible for a modified attendance accommodation is made aware of their responsibility to communicate with instructors about this accommodation and to understand that they must meet the requirements of the course, even if they have a modified attendance accommodation. Students are provided with faculty notification letters that they send to instructors identifying the need for the accommodation. Absences are not considered an accommodation until the student presents the faculty notification letter to the instructor. If SAS determines that modified attendance will fundamentally alter a course, the accommodation will not apply to that course.
- Initiate conversation with instructors early, prior to the need for the accommodation.
- Understand that not all classes can offer flexibility in attendance, if in-person attendance is fundamentally essential to the academic program/class.
- Do not just send the letter of accommodation to instructors. A conversation must occur between the student and their instructor to plan out ways to still meet the requirements of the class when there is a disability-related absence.
- Student must contact their instructors via Spartan email and SAS via email at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to any disability-related absence.
- The student is required to complete all coursework.
- If the student is unable to return to classes, the student may be referred to other campus resources to inquire about alternatives (I.e., a withdrawal from the course or, if appropriate, contacting the instructors regarding Incompletes).
- If you believe the requested modified attendance accommodation would fundamentally alter a course, SAS should be contacted as soon as possible to discuss.
- If a student has an approved accommodation and has provided their letter of accommodation, the instructor should understand flexibility is required in regards to course attendance policies.
- Instructor should be available to discuss the accommodation with the student.
- Instructor should be clear about expectations when meeting with the student and contacting SAS for any assistance.
- If a student’s absences become excessive, Instructors should let SAS know so we can follow up with the student if needed.
- When a class is missed due to a disability-related absence, a general rule for determining a reasonable time frame for a makeup or postponement of an assignment (such as a paper, exam, or quiz) is the time equivalent to that which was missed.
- Instructors who need assistance in making this accommodation work for their students without fundamentally altering the essential academic and technical standards of the program/course as defined by the academic catalog and course syllabus should contact SAS to discuss further.