Internal - Faculty & Staff

Office of Accessibility Services Faculty Resources

Accommodation Information for Faulty

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) collaborates with partners across Simmons University to provide academic accommodations to students and accessibility guidelines to faculty and staff. The OAS staff is always happy to address your accommodation- and accessibility-related questions.

An OAS staff member is also available at request to attend departmental meetings to share information on OAS policies, procedures and best practices. If you would like an OAS staff member to attend your departmental meeting, please reach us at [email protected] with the date and time of your meeting and any specific questions or concerns you would like us to address. You may also call 617-521-2658 to speak to an OAS staff member. Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic we are best reached by email.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am concerned about potential COVID-19 impacts for students in my online course.

We welcome opportunities to speak with faculty members about their questions and concerns. Please reach us at [email protected] to set up a phone or Zoom meeting with an OAS staff member. Please provide a general overview of your specific concerns in your outreach email.

Why do some students receive accommodations?

At Simmons University, we are committed to the full participation of all students in our programs and activities. Simmons University is mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal access to facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities and employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities. The University makes every effort to provide reasonable accommodations so that students can be ensured equal access and works to remove any barriers to access.

What are academic accommodations?

Academic accommodations are academic supports or interventions that guarantee that a student’s educational experience is as barrier-free as possible and is not impeded by the effects of a diagnosis or disability. For a student with a diagnosis or disability which impacts their ability to perform one or more major life activities — including their ability to learn — academic accommodations address the specific barriers which prevent them from accessing information or the classroom environment equally to their peers.

In essence, academic accommodations ensure access to the educational experience and allow students to display their mastery of course content without the impact of diagnosis-related barriers.

Who is eligible for accommodations?

Any Simmons University student who has submitted documentation to OAS and who has been deemed eligible to receive academic accommodations. A student’s eligibility for accommodations is established by review of their documentation, which must meet the documentation requirements and standards of the OAS as listed on the OAS website. In addition to documentation from a licensed health care professional, the OAS considers the value of a student’s personal testimony when assessing their eligibility for accommodations.

How are academic accommodations determined?

Academic accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. When a student requests academic accommodations, a thorough review of a student’s documentation takes place to assess the impact of their diagnosis on their academic experience. OAS always engages in a careful, interactive process to determine accommodation eligibility.

When is a student eligible to use accommodations in my course?

Students are eligible to use their accommodations in your course only after they have delivered their current Academic Accommodation Authorization document to you as notification of their connection to the OAS and of the accommodations they are eligible to receive in your course.

Accommodations are applied on a prospective basis; students are not eligible to have accommodations applied on a retroactive basis. This means that a student who has not completed the process of registering with the OAS and requesting accommodations is not eligible to receive accommodations in your course.

In addition, students are not eligible to apply accommodations retroactively to circumstances, grades or projects which took place before the student was registered with OAS and eligible for accommodation.

What if a student is eligible for an accommodation that seems unreasonable for my course?

Accommodation eligibility is based on in-depth review of a student’s documentation by the professional staff of the OAS. The reasonableness of a given accommodation is determined by this in-depth review.

A student may be eligible to receive an accommodation that is not applicable to your course (such as a student who is eligible to receive enlarged print materials, but for whom all materials are supplied digitally and who can therefore enlarge materials at will). In such situations where an accommodation is not applicable due to the modality of your course, you are not responsible for providing the accommodation.

If you have concerns about how to apply an accommodation in your course, please reach out to the OAS for consultation.

Am I required to give students their accommodations?

Under the ADA, you are required to honor the accommodations for which students in your course are eligible.

Some accommodations require coordination by OAS and may or may not require additional action from the faculty member. Some of these accommodations are listed below:

  • Access to Note Provision (may require faculty collaboration)
  • American Sign Language Interpreter
  • CART or C-PRINT (requires faculty collaboration)
  • Laptop for in-class note-taking (student provides own laptop)

See the guidelines below for information about faculty responsibility in regards to some common accommodations.

If you have questions or concerns about your responsibility in providing a specific accommodation, please reach out to the OAS for consultation.

Guidelines for Accommodating Temporary Diagnoses/Disabilities

The following guidelines are used by the Office of Accessibility Services in order to guide students who are temporarily disabled and seeking academic assistance.

Temporary disabilities (e.g. concussion, broken bone, post-op status) are not included under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as permanent disabilities and thus are not eligible for accommodation through the OAS. OAS recognizes that students may become injured or otherwise temporarily disabled and that this may impact their academics for a short period of time. Any allowances a faculty member may choose to offer a student is done so outside of the ADA guidelines for a permanent diagnosis. While such allowances are not titled accommodations, OAS strongly encourages faculty to offer allowance so that a student may fully demonstrate their mastery of a topic or project goal without the impact of the temporary diagnosis on their final product or grade. Please note that the OAS cannot mandate that faculty offer additional time for completion of assignments for a temporary diagnosis.

The Office of Accessibility Services may support a student with a temporary diagnosis impact in the following ways:

  1. Meeting with the student during the period of the temporary diagnosis to support time management, academics and meeting course requirements.
  2. Reviewing available accommodations through OAS, which may be granted at a faculty member’s discretion as allowances to a temporarily disabled student. Common supports include the following:
    1. OAS Testing Center use for regularly scheduled or make-up exams requiring additional time. The student is responsible for making all arrangements with faculty for tests to be delivered to OAS.
    2. Computer (without internet access) to compose short answers/essays on exams.
    3. Note Provision for class lectures. OAS will discuss options and provide the steps a student can take to obtain a class note-provider.
    4. OAS will provide speech-to-text technology for written portions of exams. Arrangements should be made a minimum of 3 days prior to a scheduled exam.
    5. Mobility concerns:
      1. Access to class spaces (e.g. distances between classes, 2nd floor locations).
      2. Helping students to create a plan to navigate between the two locations of the Simmons campuses (Residence campus and Main campus).
      3. Recommendations to help secure assistance with carrying books and personal belongings. OAS is unable to provide this assistance.
Won’t accommodations give a student an unfair advantage over students who don’t have accommodations?

The Office of Accessibility Services is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to grant reasonable academic accommodations to eligible students with disabilities or diagnoses which impact their equal access to the educational environment. Under the law, fairness to other students in a course is not a criterion which is considered when evaluating whether a particular academic accommodation is necessary in order to ensure equal access to a learning experience for a student with a disability.

Academic accommodations are designed to and intended to “even the playing field” by providing access. Academic accommodations do not guarantee success.

Will the OAS share my student’s documentation with me?

No. OAS will never share confidential student documentation or diagnosis information with offices or individuals outside of OAS. On rare occasions, OAS will discuss a student’s diagnosis and symptoms with a specific faculty member at the student’s request and with the student’s participation in the discussion. OAS is only able to schedule such a meeting at the student’s request. It is always a student’s personal choice whether or not to share details of their diagnosis or disability with a faculty member. OAS strongly recommends that faculty members do not request documentation or verification of a diagnosis or disability (e.g. a doctor’s note) from a student.

Accessibility Services Syllabus Statement

OAS must be accurately represented in the syllabus of every course at Simmons University. The following statement can be used to update your course syllabus:

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is a strategy-based student support office which serves qualified Simmons University undergraduate and graduate students to ensure equal access to Simmons University facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities, and employment opportunities. Students who wish to receive academic accommodations for this course must first register due to a documented diagnosis or disability with the OAS.

Following registration, OAS provides eligible students with an Academic Accommodation Authorization document to share with the faculty members of their choosing to confirm their authorized accommodations. Students are not eligible to receive or use accommodations in any course until they have provided their Academic Accommodation Authorization document to the course’s instructor. Accommodations are applied on a prospective basis; students are not eligible to apply accommodations on a retroactive basis.

The OAS is physically located on the first floor of Lefavour Hall in the Center for Student Success (when the Simmons on-the-ground campus is open) and provides service from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. OAS services are also fully available year-round for graduate online students via remote access. For more information about the services and accommodations available through the Office of Accessibility Services, please review the OAS website at simmons.edu/access or write to OAS at
[email protected].

Faculty Responsibilities for Specific Accommodations

Extended Time on Assessments and Use of the OAS Testing Center

Extended Time as an Accommodation

Students eligible for the accommodation of Extended Time on Assessments and Use of the OAS Testing Center are eligible to take any timed, in-class assessment — including (but not limited to) exams, quizzes, compositions, oral examinations and listening activities, mock qualification exams and timed essays — with extended time. The student may also take their exam in the OAS Testing Center if applicable.

All students eligible for this accommodation are eligible to use up to a maximum of double time (2.0x) for assessments.

Students may choose to use their accommodation on any timed, in-class assessment but are never required to use extended time or the OAS Testing Center if they do not wish to.

Students submit requests to use extended time on an assessment in the OAS Testing Center directly to the OAS. Students should submit requests a minimum of three business days before the scheduled date of the assessment. Approximately four business days before the date of your assessment, the OAS will email you a list of students in your class who have requested to use their accommodation on your assessment, and will send follow-up emails with the names of additional students as necessary.

Faculty Responsibilities for Accommodating Extended Time on Assessment

For assessments in the OAS Testing Center:

You are responsible for providing your assessment to OAS staff and for including all logistical information necessary for the assessment to be administered by OAS staff in the OAS Testing Center. If your assessment is on Moodle, you are required to extend the total duration that each eligible student will receive to double time. Exams must be received by the OAS by 4:30 p.m. the day before your exam (or by 4:30 p.m. Friday for exams on the following Monday).

When a student requests to take your assessment in the OAS Testing Center, the OAS will send you a notification email from our [email protected] account. The notification email will include a link to the OAS’s secure exam submission form or (if your course is online) instructions for extending your students’ testing duration on Moodle.

Once the OAS Testing Center reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic, you may also deliver paper copies of your exam to the testing center during our open hours.

For ONLINE assessments in Fall 2020:

You are required to provide your students who are eligible for Extended Time (2.0x maximum) on Assessments with double time accommodation. Simmons Technology Support has created a guide to applying extended time as an accommodation to Moodle quizzes. OAS is working with 2U to determine the best process for providing extra time on exams hosted on 2U’s platform. No matter what modality you choose to use for your in-class assessment, it is your responsibility to provide eligible students with up to double time to complete the assessment.

Alternate Times for Exams

In most cases, students will take their assessment in the OAS Testing Center at the same time and on the same date that their classmates complete the assessment in class; however, it may sometimes be necessary for students to complete their assessment at an alternate time or date. This also applies to online assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Students cannot miss class lecture in order to complete an assessment with extended time. If you lecture before or after your in-class assessment, your student will need to complete their assessment at an alternate time so that they have access to both their extended time and all in-class instructional content.
  • Students may have back-to-back classes. If a student’s extended time would cause them to miss part of a subsequent class, the student will need to complete their assessment at an alternate time so that they have access to both their extended time and all in-class instructional content.
  • Students in other time zones. Some students with accommodations have returned home to time zones far removed from Eastern Standard Time. If your student is now living in a time zone which would inequitably affect their completion of their assessment relative to their peers in the EST time zone, your student will need to complete their assessment at an alternate time.

Life circumstances and conflicts including (but not limited to) work, child care, travel plans and extracurricular activities are not accommodated under the ADA and, therefore, are not valid reasons for an OAS-registered student to take an exam at an alternate time; however, faculty members have the discretion to authorize a student to test at an alternate time for reasons unrelated to their diagnosis or academics. This authorization must be communicated directly to OAS by the faculty member — otherwise OAS will not administer the student’s exam. A faculty member is not obligated to grant permission for an OAS-registered student to take as assessment at an alternate time due to personal life circumstances.

In circumstances when a student needs to complete their exam at an alternate time, the OAS suggests that the student work with their faculty member to determine the student’s earliest opportunity within 24 hours before or after the in-class assessment period to complete the assessment.

What materials does the OAS Testing Center provide for tests?

The OAS Testing Center has a limited supply of the following materials which are available to students for assessments:

  • Simple calculators
  • Graphing calculators
  • Scantrons (standard, 8.5 x 11, double-sided, red format)
  • Timers
  • Scrap paper
  • Rulers

If your test requires specialized materials, please provide them along with your exam.

How will OAS return my exam to me?

The OAS offers several options for faculty to receive their completed exams:

  • Pick Up: You may pick up your exams in the OAS Testing Center anytime during our regular business hours. You will be asked to sign for your exams.
  • Scan and Email: You may request that OAS staff members scan your exams and email them directly to you.
  • Delivery: You may request that your exams be delivered to you or a designee in your office. Please note that a signature is required for exam delivery. To preserve your exams’ integrity, OAS staff members will not leave exams in mailboxes or slip exams under office doors. OAS attempts to complete all exam deliveries within 24 hours after the exam, but delivery may be delayed if you or your designee are not available to sign for the exams when we attempt delivery.

Access to Note Provision

Note Provision as an Accommodation

OAS offers a range of tools and access points to students who are eligible for the accommodation of Access to Note Provision, including but not limited to the following methods:

Sonocent Audio Notetaker: An app-based software which allows students to record their live class lectures and annotate the recording with color-coded audio bars. The app also supports importing and annotating lecture slides and reorganizing audio bars for ease of review and study.

Peer Note-Provider: With the assistance of the faculty member, OAS recruits a volunteer from the class to share in-class notes directly with the OAS-registered student. Students request a peer note-provider from OAS first, and then OAS collaborates with the faculty member to fill the request.

CART or C-PRINT: Two remote captioning technologies primarily used by d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. A remote, professional CART or C-PRINT writer connects to the class via Zoom (or similar) and transcribes class lecture or discussion for the student to view in real time on their computer or as a transcript after class.

Livescribe Pens: An assistive technology which records live class lecture and syncs the audio to the student’s written notes to enhance information review and retention.

Faculty Responsibility for Access to Note Provision and Peer Note Provider Announcement

Your Responsibility:

When a student requests a peer note-provider in your course, you will receive an email from the OAS asking you to make the following announcement to your class to aid in the recruitment of a volunteer.

Peer Note Provider Announcement

“The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is requesting the assistance of a volunteer note-provider to support a student in this course. This is an opportunity to assist a fellow student to access the information in this course. Note-providers are expected to share their in-class notes with their classmate within 48 hours after each class and to keep the identity of their classmate confidential. If you are interested, please contact OAS at [email protected] for next steps and include a one page sample of your notes. At the end of the semester, note-providers will receive a $100 stipend check as a thank you for volunteering their time and notes. Only legible, organized notes will be considered. Typed notes are preferred. Thank you.”

We suggest that you share this announcement in class, on Moodle (or 2U) or through email to your class roster. Please do not disclose the name of the student requesting notes when you share the announcement.

If a volunteer from your class does not contact the OAS after you share the announcement, we may reach out to your students directly through email. If these further efforts are likewise unsuccessful, OAS may determine that an alternate method of note provision, such as C-PRINT, will be used to give the student access to supplementary notes.

Is peer note-provision applicable for all courses?

Peer note-provision is not applicable or appropriate for all types of courses or course-delivery methods. Some types of classes in which peer note provision may not be applicable include the following:

  • Classes which are entirely asynchronous (i.e. which have no live lecture or class discussion components)
  • Classes for which the professor makes detailed, comprehensive notes available to all students
  • Classes for which the live lectures are recorded and made available to students online

If you believe peer-provided notes are not applicable to your class, please reply to our outreach email with details about your class format and structure.

Do students have to sign an agreement in order to record class lecture?

Starting in Fall 2020, students will be required to sign a recording agreement if they are eligible to use Sonocent Audio Notetaker or another recording software in class.

Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines

Read the full text of the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines as an Accommodation guidelines. This guidelines document will also be attached to the Academic Accommodation Authorization document of any eligible student.

Students with this accommodation are held to the same standards as students without this accommodation; every student must satisfactorily complete all learning expectations of the course.

Who is eligible for Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines?

Students who have a diagnosis or disability which may at times prevent them from meeting assignment deadlines may be eligible for the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation. Eligibility for this accommodation is determined by the likelihood that the diagnosis or disability may periodically exacerbate and render the student unable to complete an assignment by the deadline as stated in the syllabus. These diagnoses and disabilities tend to be medical in nature and may have a constant impact on the student which becomes pronounced during times of increased symptoms. Students who request this accommodation must demonstrate, through documentation from a licensed care professional and their own testimony, that they must have this accommodation to ensure that they are able to demonstrate their mastery of course material in the event that their diagnosis or disability prevents them from meeting the original course deadline — such as in the event of hospitalization or incapacitation due to an exacerbation of symptoms (also referred to as a “flare-up”).

When can students use their Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation?

This accommodation is intended to be used by the student only when their diagnosis exacerbates and prevents them from meeting an assignment deadline as stated in the course syllabus. Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines as an accommodation is not a blanket extension for all assignments in a given semester or course. You are not obligated to determine a new deadline for each assignment on your syllabus; you are obligated to consider a student’s request for an extension to an assignment deadline when an eligible student informs you that they will be unable to complete a specific assignment by the original due date due to diagnosis-related symptoms.

How does the student request an extension on an assignment deadline?

An eligible student requests an extension on a specific assignment by emailing you, the course instructor, and copying the OAS on their outreach. The student should request an extension prior to the assignment deadline as specified in the course syllabus. In rare cases (e.g. hospitalization, extreme illness), the student may not be able to email you before the assigned deadline has passed. Consideration should be granted to the student if they specify that they were incapable of emailing before the assigned deadline due to the impact of their diagnosis.

What is my responsibility regarding this accommodation?

When an eligible student emails you to request an adjustment to an assignment deadline, you as the course instructor determine what a reasonable extension would be for the given assignment and communicate this determination to the student.

Refer to the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines guidelines for recommendations of reasonable extensions for different assignment types. The table in the guidelines document suggests a potential reasonable extension based on the frequency of the assignment type (i.e. long-term or weekly; lab or practicum), but it is at your discretion to determine if a reasonable extension for your course would be more or fewer days than suggested.

Keep in mind that while you may choose to use the guidelines to determine a reasonable extension, it is ultimately up to your discretion to assess your assignment and course and decide on a reasonable extension which will not fundamentally alter your course. OAS cannot mandate an extension of a particular duration, but we are always available to consult with faculty who are deciding on a reasonable extension for an eligible student.

How do I determine a reasonable extension on an assignment?

As the course instructor, it is at your discretion to determine a reasonable extension for any given assignment. You might consider the following parameters while determining whether an extension would fundamentally alter course expectations:

  • Date the assignment was introduced
  • Original assignment duration (date assigned to date due)
  • Whether an extension would overlap with a subsequent, connected assignment or content of a class period (see examples A and B in the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines guidelines)
  • Whether an extension would fundamentally alter a group project
  • Other parameters or requirements specific to your class which would be fundamentally altered by an extension

If you would like to discuss the adjustment to an assignment deadline with an OAS staff member, please email [email protected].

What if a student requests an adjustment for an assignment deadline which fundamentally alters some element of my course?

Some assignment deadlines may not be able to be extended due to the nature of the assignment. Typically, these are assignments which are group-based, have a fixed date which cannot reasonably be rescheduled, pertain to a guest speaker visit to class, or which must be completed before a subsequent assignment can be started.

In cases where a student misses a deadline which cannot reasonably be adjusted due to a diagnosis-related emergent circumstance, it may be appropriate to assess an alternative assignment for the student. This decision, too, is at the faculty member’s discretion; however, OAS encourages consideration for students in these circumstances in order to allow students to express their full mastery of course material.

Faculty are encouraged to seek advice from OAS if a student requests an extension for an assignment which they believe cannot be reasonably extended without fundamentally altering the course.

Can students request an extension on an assignment deadline which has already passed?

No, students are not eligible to apply accommodations retroactively. With the exception of extreme circumstances, a student may not request an extension on an assignment deadline which has already passed.

To illustrate, imagine three hypothetical students who had an assignment due at midnight on Friday.

The first student is registered with the OAS, is eligible for the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation, and has delivered their AAA document to the course instructor. This student had an exacerbation of their diagnosis-related symptoms and spent Friday in the hospital without access to a means of communication and, more importantly, was too impacted to complete the assignment at that time. It would therefore be appropriate for this student to email the course instructor and OAS over the weekend when they have been released from the hospital and request an extension on the assignment due to the exacerbation of their diagnosis.

The second student is registered with the OAS, is eligible for the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation, and has delivered their AAA document to the course instructor. This student had an exacerbation of their diagnosis-related symptoms on Friday and did not submit the assignment. The student did not email the course instructor or OAS to activate a use of their Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation. The student submitted the assignment late without any notification that an exacerbation prevented them from meeting the original deadline. In this circumstance, the student did not properly utilize the accommodation, and it is at the faculty member’s discretion whether the student will be allowed to receive full credit for the assignment or if the course’s standard late policy will apply.

The third student is not registered with the OAS and, therefore, is not eligible for the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation and does not have an AAA document. This student had an exacerbation of their diagnosis-related symptoms on the day that the assignment is due and did not submit the assignment until the following Monday. After submitting the late assignment, the student completed the OAS registration process and was then deemed eligible for the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation. Although the student was not eligible for the accommodation at the time that they missed the assignment deadline and they are not entitled to apply their Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation retroactively, the student is eligible to use the accommodation going forward.

However, the course instructor may, at their own discretion, offer considerations for students who share that they missed a deadline due to an extreme circumstance, even if at the time of the request the student is not eligible for this accommodation or is not connected to OAS at all.

Is there a maximum number of assignment extensions a student can request in one semester or one course?

Technically, no. However, this accommodation is not intended to grant a blanket adjustment for every assignment deadline in a course. If a student experiences frequent exacerbations and cannot regularly meet assignment deadlines, the student’s circumstances may fall outside of the scope of the Adjustments to Assignment Deadlines accommodation. Students in these circumstances may require additional, alternative support through other campus resources. Please contact OAS if you are concerned that a student is requesting extensions for all or most assignments.

Adjustment to Course Attendance

Read the full text of the Adjustment to Course Attendance as an Accommodation guidelines. This guidelines document will also be attached to the Academic Accommodation Authorization document of any eligible student.

Students with this accommodation are held to the same standards as students without this accommodation; every student must satisfactorily complete all learning expectations of the course.

Who is eligible for Adjustment to Course Attendance?

Students who have a diagnosis or disability which may impact their ability to attend class may be eligible for the Adjustment to Course Attendance accommodation. Eligibility for this accommodation is determined when the symptoms of the diagnosis or disability may exacerbate and render the student unable to attend a class session. These diagnoses and disabilities tend to be chronic and medical in nature and become pronounced during times of increased symptoms. Students who are eligible for this accommodation have demonstrated to OAS that this accommodation is necessary for them in order not to be penalized for a missed class session due to exacerbation of symptoms — for example in the event of hospitalization, incapacitation due to an exacerbation of symptoms (also referred to as a “flare-up”), or essential medical treatment.

When can students use their Adjustment to Course Attendance accommodation?

This accommodation is intended to be used by the student only when an exacerbation of their symptoms impacts their ability to attend class as regularly scheduled or when they have a medically necessary appointment for management of their condition. Adjustment to Course Attendance as an accommodation is not intended to cover other absences from class, such as personal commitments, travel plans or illnesses which are unrelated to the diagnosis on record with OAS.
Students are eligible to use their accommodation-related absences whenever their diagnosis symptoms may impact their ability to attend class. Eligible students may apply their accommodation up to the total allowable number of absences determined by their faculty member.
The guidelines document mentions the “total allowable number of absences” a student can use in a course. What do you mean by that?
When a student who is eligible for Adjustment to Course Attendance delivers their Academic Accommodation Authorization Document to you, you as the course instructor must determine how many additional absences (above the number stated in your syllabus) the student could have without fundamentally altering your course. This number of additional absences should be added to the number of absences stated in your syllabus attendance policy to arrive at the total allowable number of absences which a student with this accommodation can have in your course. This number of absences should be communicated to the student at the beginning of the semester or soon after they deliver their AAA document to you.
Please note that if you have not stated an attendance policy in your syllabus, OAS suggests contacting our office in order to talk through the process of applying this accommodation in your course.

How do I determine how many additional absences are appropriate for my course?

To determine the number of additional absences students will be allowed under this accommodation, you might consider these questions:

• Do in-class student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
• Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation in class as an essential method for learning?
• To what degree does a student’s failure to attend class constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of the student and of other students in the class?
• What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated?

You might also consider whether the number of absences already stated in your attendance policy represents the maximum number of absences a student could have before your course is fundamentally altered.

Please note that if you have not stated an attendance policy in your syllabus, OAS suggests contacting our office in order to talk through the process of applying this accommodation in your course.

If you would like to discuss your attendance policy and thoughts on additional absences with an OAS staff member, please email [email protected]

Is there a maximum number of absences a student can have in a given course?

As the course instructor, you retain the authority to determine the number of course sessions a student must attend in order to fulfill the fundamental expectations of the course.

Please note that if you have not stated an attendance policy in your syllabus, OAS suggests contacting our office in order to talk through the process of applying this accommodation in your course.

You determine the total allowable number of classes a student could potentially miss without fundamentally altering the course by adding the number of absences stated in your course attendance policy plus the additional number of absences granted to a student with an accommodation. For more information, please see the guidance within the Adjustment to Course Attendance guidelines.

Students with this accommodation are held to the same standards as students without this accommodation; every student must satisfactorily complete all learning expectations of the course.

How does the student notify me of a diagnosis-related absence?

A student alerts you to their need to use their accommodation by emailing you, the course instructor, and copying the OAS on their outreach. The student should, ideally, send this notification as soon as they are aware that they will need to use an absence allowed by their accommodation, preferably before the class session that they will miss. In rare cases (e.g. hospitalization, extreme illness), the student may not be able to email you before the class session in question. Consideration should be granted to the student if they specify that they were incapable of emailing before the class period due to the impact of their diagnosis.

Can students apply the Adjustment to Course Attendance accommodation to past absences?

No. Once a student requests and is determined to be eligible for the Adjustment to Course Attendance accommodation, it will be added to their Academic Accommodation Authorization document which the student is then responsible for delivering to their faculty member. The student is eligible to apply their accommodation to any diagnosis-related absence which occurs on or after the date when the faculty member receives the AAA document which states the student’s eligibility for the accommodation. The accommodation cannot be used to excuse absences predating the faculty member’s receipt of the AAA document which states the student’s eligibility.

What is my responsibility regarding this accommodation?

You have the responsibility to assess your class and determine the maximum number of absences a student might have (in addition to the number of allowable absences named in your syllabus attendance policy) before their learning experience in your course becomes fundamentally altered. You should communicate this number of additional absences to your student directly, either at the beginning of the semester when you receive their Academic Accommodation Authorization document, or when they have used approximately half of the additional absences which you have decided can be allowed to students with this accommodation. It is your responsibility to keep track of your student’s accommodation- and non-accommodation-related absences and ensure that a student’s grade is not affected by accommodation-related absences up to the maximum allowable for your course.

I am concerned that a student in my course has been absent too many times to pass my class even though they are eligible for Adjustment to Course Attendance as an accommodation; what should I do in this situation?

Absences under this accommodation are intended to be used when a student experiences an exacerbation of their diagnosis-related symptoms, but is not intended to apply to consecutive absences spanning multiple weeks. Students who have a diagnosis-related exacerbation or emergency which impacts their ability to attend class for weeks at a time demonstrate a level of need which may exceed the scope of this accommodation. Likewise, students who use more than the pre-determined number of allowable accommodation-related absences in a class demonstrate that their diagnosis-related need may exceed the scope of this accommodation. These students should contact the Office of Student Life for guidance on managing their multiple successive or excessive absences and their completion of the course.

Resources for Faculty

Creating Accessible Course Materials

Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Word, University of Washington

Microsoft Word – Creating Accessible Documents, WebAIM, Center for Persons with Disabilities, Utah State University

Documents and PDFs, University of Minnesota

Creating Accessible PDFs from Microsoft Word, University of Washington

Creating Accessible Presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint, University of Washington

PowerPoint Accessibility, WebAIM, Center for Persons with Disabilities, Utah State University

Strategies for Teaching D/deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) Students

Tips To Go: Accommodating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in Schools, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet University

Teaching Strategies for Hearing Impaired Students, Ferris State University