Accommodations for life events

How to handle accommodation requests for cultural, religious and ethnic observances, pregnancy, parenting, or other life events.

Students with disabilities can apply for a disability-related accommodation through the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Your role

Faculty and instructional staff have the ability to grant accommodation requests. These requests ask permission to make up missed or late work due to an unforeseen life circumstance, emergency, or personal need.

You are encouraged to work with students on an individual basis, to assure students can meet their academic obligations.

Document all academic accommodation details and information in writing to the student so a record can be maintained of the accommodation granted.

Religious, Pregnancy and Parenting Accommodations

Religious, Cultural and Ethnic Observances

Existing policy and Academic Calendar guidance on Religious Observances note that:

  • Instructors should not schedule exams and other mandatory academic requirements on days when religious observances may cause substantial student absences. A non-exhaustive list of cultural, religious and ethnic holidays is provided by the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty. Additional observances may exist that are not included on this list.
  • Students should notify the course instructor within the first two weeks of the semester/term of the specific dates conflicting with an exam or assignment.
  • Per policy, any student with a conflict between an academic requirement and any religious observance must be given an alternative for meeting the academic requirement.

Religious observances
& accommodation policy

Pregnancy & Parenting

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities.

  • Absences due to pregnancy or childbirth, should be excused for as long as the student’s doctor deems it is necessary.
  • Allow students to return to the same academic and extracurricular status held before medical leave began, which should include the opportunity to make up any work missed.

Pregnancy and Parenting Students

Other types of accommodation requests

Required and non-required accommodations

Guidance to assist in the decision making process when other types accommodation requests are made from students about class attendance and absences.

Eric Wilcots, professor stands in front of class lecturing.

Additional Information and Considerations

Other reasons to request an accommodation:

  • Family emergency requiring student to leave campus.
  • Serious illness or injury.
  • The student was the victim of a serious crime.

When deciding whether to grant these requests consider:

  • Is the request reasonable, appropriate, and timely?
  • Will granting the request compromise the academic integrity of the course?
  • Can the student provide verification of the reason for the request?
  • Has the student’s attendance and participation in class been at a level where they can successfully complete the work?
  • Is the decision to allow the accommodation consistent with previous requests?

Written documentation should include:

  • The timeline for any assignments and a final deadline when all coursework should be completed.
  • What work should be completed.
  • What grade will be assigned if the student does not complete the work as agreed.

Instructional Guidance:

Instructors are encouraged to include clear and concise accommodation information on their syllabi that students can be referred to.

Instructors should make it explicitly clear that when a student fails to follow through with an accommodation agreement, there is no rule or expectation the student must pass the course.

Instructors who require attendance should make it clear that excused absences still may have an impact on the student’s final grade