Attendance and Disability

Federal law requires colleges and universities to consider reasonable modification of attendance policies if required as an accommodation for a student's disability.  Because attendance is an essential requirement of most courses at Miami, the following questions must be answered.

  • Does the student have a documented disability that directly affects his or her ability to attend class on a regular basis?  The Director of Student Disability Services will review documentation from the student's health care provider and provide verification of the need to be flexible to the student's instructor if necessary. 
  • Is attendance an essential part of the class?  Would modification of attendance policies be a fundamental alteration of the course or curriculum?  Faculty should make this determination in consultation with SDS. 

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides the following guidelines to assess if attendance is an essential part of the class:

  • Is there classroom interaction and dialogue between the instructor and students?
  • Is there important classroom discussion between students facilitated by the instructor?
  • Does student participation constitute a significant component of the learning process for the class?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation 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 other students in the class?
  • Are attendance requirements listed in the course syllabus?  What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
  • Which method is used to calculate a final grade for the course?

Students with a disability-related need for flexibility in attendance should consult with SDS and meet with instructors to discuss the extent to which modification in attendance policies may be reasonable in a particular class.  The student and instructor should have a clear understanding of what accommodation can be made for disability-related absences. 

For more information, please consult with the Director of SDS.