Disability-Related Extensions of Time and Disability-Related Absence Guidelines

Disability-Related Extensions of Time and Disability-Related Absence Guidelines


Students may have disabilities that are episodic in nature (ex. chronic health conditions, anxiety, depression, etc.) and these conditions may cause unpredictable exacerbations of symptoms. An unpredictable exacerbation of a disability-related condition may occasionally impact the student’s ability to attend class and complete exams or assignments at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance/assignments may be considered an appropriate accommodation.

Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) has created guidelines for DRES-registered students & faculty to help navigate these accommodations.

Disability-Related Extensions of Time and Disability-Related Absence Guidelines



Students are expected and encouraged to attend classes on a regular basis. Faculty have the right to establish attendance policies. The number of allowable absences depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on department, college or accrediting agency rules. 

Students are expected and encouraged to meet all deadlines for assignments, quizzes, and exams. Faculty have the right to establish late work policies.


WHAT DOES Disability-related extensions of time / disability-related absences mean?

Students who may occasionally miss an assignment deadline or exam due to an unpredictable or cyclical acute episodes caused by a disability may seek an accommodation. Flexibility in attendance/assignments is not a blanket statement applied to every week, every assignment, or every exam. The DRES approved agreement between the student and faculty should help clarify expectations should an unexpected flare up occur during the term. 

The process for requesting this accommodation occurs through DRES. All requests are considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.

The DRES Access Specialist may contact faculty regarding Disability-related extensions of time and /or Disability-related absence accommodations if there are questions or concerns, to gain an understanding in the role attendance plays in the design of the course, as well as a basic understanding of the impact or role timing of assignments and exams play in the interactive or participatory nature of the course.

Specifically, DRES may explore:

  • What is the course attendance policy? What does the course description and syllabus say?
  • What method is used to calculate the final grade? (attendance, assignments, exams, etc.)
  • Are the attendance policy and late work or missed exams policy applied consistently? Are there exceptions to the policy made for extenuating circumstances, such as athletic travel or religious observation?
  • How much interaction is there between the instructor and students and among students’ peers?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the design of the course rely on student participation as a significant method for learning (either in attendance and/or their assignment (project) contributions?
  • Is there content only offered in class?
  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend class or complete an assignment on time compromise the educational experience of other students in the class?


  1. If DRES determines that the accommodation is reasonable, we explain to students that this does not mean that they can miss as many classes as they want and that attendance is a requirement for courses here on the University of Illinois campus. Also, the student is responsible for completing all coursework.
  1. After the interactive process with the student of determining reasonable accommodations, the DRES Access Specialist writes a Letter of Accommodations detailing the reasonable accommodations that the student is granted under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA). If the student wants to utilize accommodations in a course, it is the student’s responsibility to provide their letter to their instructor and to initiate a discussion with their instructor regarding:
  • How and when the student should inform faculty that they will miss a class.
  • How the student will make up missed assignments and/or exams.
  • The number of absences (beyond what any student is allowed) that would be reasonable.
  • If it is reasonable for online discussion expectations to be modified due to disability-related reasons and under what conditions.
  • If it is reasonable to extend the window for completing online exams or assignments.

The DRES Access Specialist can be part of these discussions.  It is recommended that arrangements regarding absence and extension accommodations be made in consultation with the instructor, student, and DRES Access Specialist and be placed in writing.


  • This accommodation is not a blanket reason to miss class, miss a quiz/exam, or miss assignment due dates.
  • Some students register late in the term or wait to request this accommodation until late in the term.  In these cases, faculty are not expected to provide retroactive accommodations. However, it may still be helpful to have this information, even at a late point in the term.
  • At no time is the student required to present the faculty member with medical documentation verifying his/her disability related absence for this accommodation.
  • If the absences meet or exceed those agreed upon by the instructor and student, the DRES Access Specialist should be informed. This will allow the DRES Access Specialist to be of assistance in answering questions about the accommodations from both the student and the faculty member.
  • 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, busy schedule, work schedule, childcare issues, car trouble, etc.) and should be addressed according to the stated syllabus attendance/absence policy. The student is responsible for following the faculty member’s syllabus regarding absences due to non-disability related issues.
  • Faculty are not obligated to re-teach material missed due to a student not attending class. Students are responsible for material missed in class due to a disability-related absence.
  • It cannot be assumed that an extension can be provided for each and every course component. If there are questions about whether an extension is possible for an assignment, the student should notify the DRES Access Specialist so they can work collaboratively with the course instructor as needed to best accommodate the student.
  • DRES registered students have the responsibility for completing all course work and should be held to the same standard as all other students.
  • Instructors should contact the DRES Access Specialist who has signed the student’s Letter of Accommodations.  That information is on the bottom of each Letter of Accommodations.
  • If a student is requesting an academic accommodation but is not registered with DRES, the instructor is not required to provide it and can refer the student to the DRES website at https://www.disability.illinois.edu/applying-services to apply.