Radford University Attendance Policy:
All students are expected to attend classes on a regular basis. No absences of any nature will be construed as relieving the student from responsibility for the completion of all work assigned by the instructor.
A student registering late for a class will be responsible for all work assigned and material covered during the class sessions that were missed due to the late registration.
The first class meeting of an evening class, which meets one night per week for 14 weeks, represents about seven percent of the total class time; this first meeting is a regular class.
During the first week of each course, the instructor shall inform students of the attendance policies for the course. Class attendance policies are determined by the instructor and should allow for a reasonable number of absences which are required due to documented official university-sponsored activities, health problems and other emergencies. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements, which are acceptable to the instructor, to complete work missed during the student’s absence from class.
Official university-sponsored activities include, but are not limited to, those events which students attend as official delegates funded by the university or in which they represent a university-funded, all-campus organization, intercollegiate athletic team or performing group and academic course-related field trips in which participation is mandatory as approved by the appropriate academic dean.
What is Amended Attendance:
In most cases, attendance is considered critical to the student’s mastery of course content and the development of skills taught in a specific course. All students are responsible for knowing and abiding by any attendance policy stated in the course syllabus or established by the instructor during the first course meeting, unless otherwise notified by the instructor or Access Specialist.
Amended attendance is, typically, used to accommodate disabilities that may be chronic, unpredictable and/or episodic in nature. At times, a condition may intensify in symptomology and may disrupt a student’s ability to function in the academic environment for a short period of time. Due to the nature of the disability, the student may not have advance warning of a flare up of the condition. Amended attendance allows for a modest amount of flexibility so that a student’s grade reflects their understanding and potential mastery of the content rather than the short-term impact of unpredictable disability.
Alternatives to Attendance (short term absences):
The university should consider alternative, but equivalent options, to ensure that a student is still able to meet the essential requirements of a specific course or program. These options may include, but are not limited to:
- Allowing a student to attend an alternative section of the course
- Considering remote attendance (attending via Zoom or other internet-based service)
- Allowing a student to participate in classroom discussion via discussion board or other equivalent means.
- Meeting with the instructor during office hours to receive missed information.
- Getting lecture or class notes from the instructor or a peer. (Note that while the instructor may share their notes with a student, they are not required to create notes specifically for the student).
- Working with the instructor or CAS Test Proctoring Office to complete a missed assessment.
The Limitations of Amended Attendance:
- In classes where attendance and participation is of a critical nature to the course, minimal or no absence flexibility may be appropriate.
- Excessive absences, even with amended attendance as part of an approved access plan, may create an unequal educational experience. As such, faculty members should work closely with the student to determine if the student needs to drop/withdraw or take an incomplete to finish the course.
- Amended attendance is not intended to address the needs of students who are unable to attend class for extended periods of time due to severe injury or a prolonged medical condition.
- Amended attendance does not permit unlimited absences, nor is it to be considered an attendance waiver. Amended attendance is not to be used for absences unrelated to the disability.
Implementing Amended Attendance:
Requests for amended attendance will be considered on a case-by-case basis, considering the individual needs of the student and the barriers the student may face. If amended attendance is determined to be the most reasonable accommodation for the student, the student will inform the Access Specialist, in writing, of the courses for which the accommodation is needed. The student’s assigned Access Specialist will contact each instructor individually to determine if there is a modest level of flexibility in the attendance policy for the particular course. The Access Specialist will communicate to the student the results of the discussion with each faculty member in writing. The student will confirm, in writing, their acceptance of the Amended Attendance Plan. Amended attendance will not go into effect until all parties have agreed to the plan. If the student has concerns regarding the Amended Attendance Plan, as constructed by the instructor and Access Specialist, the student should contact their Access Specialist immediately.
The student may attend the amended attendance meeting with the Access Specialist and faculty member but is not required to do so in order to implement the accommodation.
Even if a student has been approved for amended attendance, it is still the responsibility of the student to meet all of the academic course requirements and to complete assigned work and assessments in the timeframe outlined in the course syllabus, unless otherwise noted by the instructor. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain any class material missed due to a disability related absence, including, but not limited to, notes and lecture material.
Regarding Exceptions for Scheduled Medical Appointments:
All students, regardless of disability status, need to care for their physical and mental health. Students with regularly scheduled appointments with a specialist, counselor, or doctor should attempt to make their medical appointments outside of class time. However, if and when a conflict is unavoidable, these rare absences should be discussed with the faculty member directly. In emergency medical situations, where the student has an unplanned absence due to the need for immediate medical treatment or hospitalization, the student should seek the support and advocacy of the Dean of Students Office.
Regarding Practicums, Internships, and Other Field Experiences:
Experiential learning opportunities allow a student to gain critical knowledge of a field or trade while progressing through their education. While a student is participating in an experiential learning opportunity, it is the responsibility of the university to work with the placement coordinator to provide reasonable accommodations. However, field experiences, internships, practicums, and labs may have attendance requirements that are deemed essential to the skills developed in a particular program. Depending on the nature of the program, a certain number of hours/days/weeks in an experiential learning placement may be required. Not completing the designated time frame would result in an unequal educational experience or lack of experience needed for certification. In some cases, amended attendance may not be reasonable as an accommodation for experiential learning opportunities.
Regarding Laboratory Courses:
Even with an accommodation of amended attendance, missing hands-on laboratory exercises, in addition to necessary skills and techniques required, may result in an inability to show mastery of the content. If a student needs accommodations to participate in a laboratory course, the student should contact the Center for Accessibility Services as soon as possible.
Regarding Studio Courses:
In studio-style or performance-based courses where ongoing feedback and participation between student, peers, and faculty must occur in order for the student to progress in the course, amended attendance options may be limited.
Faculty Responsibilities for Amended Attendance:
- Evaluate and understand your course and/or department policies regarding attendance.
- Be aware of concerns regarding differential treatment. Consider if exceptions to an attendance policy have been made for other students due to athletic events, illness, family emergency, etc. If considerations have been made for other students, for other circumstances, considerations must be made for students who are requesting an attendance amendment due to disability.
- If amended attendance is determined reasonable, set clear, specific limitations. Ex: X amount of class meetings can be missed before the student will be docked one point from their overall grade for each additional absence.
- Determine if/ how missed classwork, assessments, participation points can be made up.
- Work with the Access Specialist to determine how many courses can be missed before creating a fundamental alteration to the course.
Access Specialist Responsibilities for Amended Attendance:
- Review the CAS Application for Services and any applicable documentation.
- Determine reasonable accommodations for the student via the interactive process. If amended attendance is considered to be the most reasonable accommodation, the Access Specialist will collaborate with the instructor to determine if there is flexibility to the attendance policy.
- Communicate with the student regarding any amended attendance plan developed in conjunction with the faculty.
Student Responsibilities for Amended Attendance:
- Consider the potential impact of the disability when creating a class schedule. Are symptoms of the disability better or worse at a particular time of day? Would breaks between classes alleviate or exacerbate symptoms?
- Submit the CAS Application for Services or, if you are already registered with CAS, a supplemental request.
- Provide documentation, if requested.
- Participate in the interactive process each semester with your Access Specialist to determine if amended attendance is still the most reasonable accommodation.
- Inform the Access Specialist the courses for which amended attendance is needed. Accommodations are not retroactive; CAS suggests sending your Semester Request early in the semester if you are planning to request an attendance adjustment.
- Read the syllabus for each course for which amended attendance is requested. Ensure that you understand the attendance policies or any penalties for missing the allotted number of courses. If you have any concerns, contact your Access Specialist.
- Make an effort to attend each class meeting/activity. A disability-related absence should only be used when the symptoms of a disability are substantially limiting and attending class is not feasible.
- Inform faculty member of absence as soon as physically able to do so via email.
- It is the student’s responsibility to complete any and all course work by the date listed on the assignment schedule, unless otherwise notified by your faculty member or Access Specialist. If a class is missed, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain notes or other materials from the instructor or a peer.
- Understand that even with amended attendance as a reasonable accommodation, the understanding of the content, and therefore, the final grade, could be negatively impacted by missing class.