Some students may experience disability-related symptoms or require necessary treatment that can impact attendance of their classes.  The Office of Civil Rights has, in response to a related claim, provided guidance regarding “attendance” (see Cabrillo Community College, OCR Case 09-96-2150, 1996) the questions below are intended to assist in determining if attendance is an essential requirement for a course.

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students?  Among students?
  • Do student contributions make up a significant part of the learning process?
  • 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 constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
  • What do the course description and course syllabus say about attendance?
  • Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

After the above questions have been considered, it may be determined that a reasonable accommodation should include flexibility in attendance.  This determination should be made on a case-by-case basis for those students with documented disabilities.