Guidance on Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments

This webpage is not intended to replace vital instructor-student discussion; instead, it aims to provide context and guidance for establishing this complex arrangement. CDS/SNAP is the appropriate resource for instructors in this process. If you feel that you will be unable to provide this accommodation, please contact CDS/SNAP.

Students with disabilities are approved for Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments when strong medical documentation warrants the accommodation. This accommodation provides students opportunities to demonstrate mastery of course knowledge, even when disability limits their ability to attend class and/or meet deadlines. While an attendance policy may be already incorporated into the grading scheme and syllabus, and its value is inherent to student success and learning, this accommodation is intended to modify any stated attendance policies allowing some flexibility beyond that limit to account for the student's disability-related need.

Guidance for Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments

The following questions can assist in assessing the extent to which attendance is critical to the essential learning objectives of a class, and to make a determination whether Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments can be reasonably implemented.

1. What does the class description and syllabus say about attendance?
2. How is the final class grade calculated? Is attendance factored into the final grade?
3. Is the attendance policy consistently applied? (i.e., Have there been any exceptions made to the policy for non-disabled students, such as for athletic travel or religious observances? If so, then these exceptions must also be granted to students with disabilities.)
4. Is there significant interaction between the instructor and students, and among students? If so, how much?
5. Do student contributions and participation in class constitute a significant component of the learning process? (i.e., discussion, presentations, role play, group work)
6. To what degree does a student's failure to attend class or do an assignment on time compromise the educational experience of other students in the class?
7. Are assignments used as class content when they are due? (i.e., problem sets reviewed as the first lecture on that content)
8. What method is used to calculate the final grade? (i.e., attendance, assignments, discussion board posts, exams)

When assignments are missed due to disability, instructors should be as flexible as possible without weakening specific course goals. If a missed assignment impacts a student or their classmates' ability to move forward with class materials or to receive instructor feedback, then there may be less room for flexibility. Generally, flexibility within a few days of an assignment deadline or exam is reasonable for students who receive flexibility in assignment deadlines. Occasionally, more time is appropriate depending on the nature of the assignment and the requirements of the course.

If Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments is determined to be a reasonable accommodation, the instructor and student should work together to clearly specify issues related to:

  • Attendance
  • Assignments/discussion boards
  • Missed quizzes/exams

Student Responsibilities

Students are required to present their Professor Notification Letter (PNL) and initiate a conversation with the instructor before missing class when possible. 

  • Request to meet with each instructor early in the semester to discuss if and/or how the attendance policies may be modified for a particular class.
  • Understand that flexible attendance might not be appropriate or reasonable in some classes.
  • Keep up with the class and complete all coursework due to absence. If the student is unable to turn in a homework assignment or misses a quiz/exam, the student must contact the professor (via email or other agreed upon method with instructor) to coordinate new due dates.
  • Notify instructors (via email or other agreed upon method with instructor) regarding an expected and necessary absence or an unexpected, missed class due to a disability-related reason.


Instructor Responsibilities

Instructors who have questions about how to best implement Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments or who have concerns regarding fundamental alterations should contact the CDS/SNAP Administrator whose name is listed on the Professor Notification Letter (PNL). Alternatively, the instructor can contact us at or 843.953.1431.

  • Provide reasonable time frames for making up missed assignments or assessments due the day of a disability-related absence.
  • Confirm receipt (if applicable) of the student's email notification regarding a disability-related absence.


Important Information

  • This accommodation is not a blanket reason to miss class.
  • Some students register late in the semester or wait to request to provide their Professor Notification Letter (PNL) until late in the term. In these cases, instructors are not expected to provide retroactive accommodations.
  • At no time is the student required to present the instructor with medical documentation verifying their disability-related absence for this accommodation.
  • Absences that are not related to the effects of a disability are not included in this accommodation (i.e., absences due to a common illness; car trouble; childcare) and should be addressed according to the attendance/absence policy stated in the syllabus.
  • Instructors are not obligated to re-teach material missed due to not attending class.
  • Not every course component can be provided an extension.
  • Students are responsible for completing all class work and should be held to the same standard as all other students.