NC State’s attendance regulations state that full participation in class, laboratory periods, and examinations is expected of all students. A limited number of excused absences are allowed. Some students may experience absence from class due to a temporary or permanent medical condition. On one hand, based upon either the medical documentation or the nature of the medical condition, it may be known before the semester begins that one or more absence could occur. On the other, some students could experience unexpected hospital or outpatient treatment, illness, pain, fatigue, severe anxiety, etc. A reasonable absence accommodation plan may be necessary; however, requesting to enroll in a seated course and have the attendance requirement waived is not reasonable. Regardless of the student’s medical condition, the student remains responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of the course.
Essential Course Requirements
In every course, the instructor identifies and defines the essential course requirements and measures whether they have been met. In addition, the instructor determines the acceptable number of excused absences in light of these requirements. Generally, instructors clearly state essential course requirements and the course attendance policy on their syllabi. Instructors are neither expected to compromise the essential course requirements nor to fundamentally alter the course regardless of the student’s medical condition; however, instructors must consider the folowing questions to determine if attendance is essential:
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves?
- Do student contributions in class constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- 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 class constitute a significant loss of the educational experience of other students in the class?
- What does the course description and syllabus say regarding attendance?
- What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated?
Although instructors should not compromise academic standards, they are asked whenever possible to design courses that include multiple, flexible options to allow all students to participate. See Universal Design.
DELTA offers assistance to instructors seeking ways to minimize course disruption when students miss classes. Instructors can contact DELTA’s LearnTech service (firstname.lastname@example.org; 919.513.7094) to obtain information and assistance with technology solutions such as learning management systems, online conferencing tools, discussion boards, blogs, etc.
Making Up Work
In most cases, when medical absence occurs, instructors have agreed to reasonably alternative but equivalent ways for students to successfully complete essential course requirements without compromising course standards. This is usually best accomplished by the student, instructor and DSO access consultant working together as a team. Some methods that may be used and considered include:
- Assigning comparable make-up work.
- Altering timelines for coursework and tests.
- Allowing students to attend repeat lectures given at other course sections.
- Giving students permission, when possible, to enroll in cable, Internet or video sections of the course.
- Giving students an incomplete grade to allow an opportunity to fulfill course requirements through independent study or by attending class lectures the following semester.
- Allowing students to withdraw from the class so they can repeat the class during another semester when their medical condition has stabilized.
- Requests must be timely and reasonable. Instructors need to be informed with enough time to provide the adjustment.
DSO access consultants are available to consult with instructors and students about possible adjustments in the creation of the reasonable absence accommodation plan. If the student is enrolled in the course and no reasonable adjustment can be found, withdrawal may be the only option to avoid academic penalty.
- Students should apply for DSO services, and provide current documentation regarding their medical condition. Students should ask medical providers to include information about class attendance in the documentation.
- Students should register for courses as early as possible. We strongly advise students to meet with instructors to investigate attendance policies and course requirements as they choose their courses. Students should plan for individualized needs when choosing courses and sections. For example, scheduling classes at a certain time of day, scheduling breaks between classes etc.
- Students should request letters for their instructors.
- Students should carefully review the syllabus for each course to learn the essential course requirements and the attendance policy for the course. Then, students are advised to schedule an appointment with each instructor to discuss and clarify their attendance policy in regard to meeting the essential course requirements.
- Students are advised to take an active part in working with the instructor to identify adjustments that are equitable and maintain course standards. DSO access consultants are available to consult with instructors and students about possible adjustments in the creation of the reasonable absence accommodation plan.
- Students, or designee, should contact the instructor and the DSO as early as possible when an absence occurs due to disability.
When absent due to the medical condition, students should:
- Stay in contact with their medical provider to discuss treatment and recommendations.
- Cooperate and follow through with all medical treatment to allow for optimum functioning.
- When able, contact instructors to inform them of the absence and their expected date of return to class.
- If not able to contact instructors, students or designated individuals should contact the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA) (Park Shops, 919-515-3037). Division of Academic and Student Affairs will contact instructors regarding the absence.
- When able, contact the instructor immediately to discuss the possibility of making up the missed work.
- The DSO will not include absence information in the Student DSO Services letter unless medical documentation warrants it.
- Students should not assume that their absence will be excused just because they are registered with the DSO. Modification of the attendance policy does not mean that unlimited absences will be permitted. The number of absences permitted will be determined on a case-by-case basis and communicated in the reasonable absence accommodation plan.
- Students must follow DSO procedures and meet with their service provider each semester. They must also have a letter sent and meet with their instructor as early as possible.
- Unless designated by the instructor, students are responsible for adhering to all scheduled deadlines for class assignments and tests.
- Any absence not due to the disability/medical condition is excluded from the above procedures.