Reasonable Flexibility in Attendance Accommodation

All students are expected to follow established classroom attendance policies. However, some students have a disability which could be episodic in nature, causing attendance difficulties.  Flexibility with attendance policies may be necessary in some rare instances. 

The accommodation of flexibility in attendance is determined by a review of the disability documentation provided by the student to the Student Access Center (SAC), as well as through a structured interview regarding the need for such an accommodation.  It is up to the instructor and the SAC Access Specialist to determine how this will be implemented for a particular class and a flexible attendance agreement will be developed.  Like all accommodations, flexible attendance is not retro-active, meaning, an agreement must be in place prior to the absence(s).

What is “reasonable”?

Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the tasks, environment or to the way things are usually done that enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program (U.S. Department of Education, 2007).  Depending on the nature of the course, flexible attendance might not be reasonable. Only the instructor can determine if a course involves significant interaction and in-class participation, and cannot allow attendance flexibility (e.g., labs, conversational foreign language, etc.).  The SAC Access Specialist will work with the instructor to determine if attendance flexibility is reasonable, and if so, to what extent.

Whether or not attendance flexibility is allowed, students will remain responsible for the following:

  • Complete all work required for the course. When class is missed, the student will notify their instructor, as designated in the agreement. 
  • The accommodation of reasonable flexibility in attendance is not an automatic extension for work that is due on a day that they are absent. Students must still make every attempt to complete and submit their work. Any missed assignments, quizzes or tests will be completed in accordance with the flexible attendance agreement with the instructor.
  • If medical intervention is sought, provide documentation to the SAC.
  • A conversation must occur between you and your instructor regarding the flexible attendance agreement so both parties are clear about expectations.
  • Keep your SAC Access Specialist informed if absences exceed the agreement.
  • If absences exceed the agreement, consider how this will impact the course grade and whether withdrawing from the course is an option.


  • Instructors must make themselves available to discuss the accommodation with the student in a place that allows for confidentiality.
  • The instructor will work with the SAC Access Specialist to determine a flexible attendance accommodation plan, if reasonable.
  • If student absences exceed the agreement the instructor will not be required to approve additional absences.