Accommodation of special student needs
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we are requred to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities so that they can have access to the same education as non-disabled students. The The McBurney Disability Resource Centeris responsible for determining what those reasonable accommodations are.
According to university policy, a disabled student who requires accommodation under the ADA is responsible for making his or her instructors aware of the type of accommodation required and to give the instructors ample time to make the accommodations. The McBurney Center provides each disabled student with a laminated card--called a "McBurney VISA"--that identifies the student as having a disability requiring certain accommodations, and it will state what those accommodations are.
It is important to be aware that, in many cases, the student will have an non-visible disability which may require that they be given longer time on exams, or that they be allowed to take exams alone in a separate room. It is important that you do not question the student's need for such accommodations.
You should make your lecturer aware of any students in your classes who require accommodations because it is up to the lecturer to make the necessary arrangements for exams. Some TAs and lecturers will make an announcement on the first day of class asking any McBurney students to stay after class to identify themselves.
According to university policy,
- "mandatory academic requirements should not be scheduled on days when a religious observance may cause substantial numbers of students to be absent from university functions."
The lecturer should avoid scheduling exams, and you should avoid scheduling quizzes (or allow for make-ups) on some major Jewish, Muslim, and Christian holidays. To find out which major holidays fall under this category, see the current acadmic calendar.
If a student tells you that he or she cannot attend class on a particular day because of religious observance, and it is not one of the aforementioned holidays, you are expected to take the information on face value. Rather than questioning the legitimacy of the student's religious practices, try to come up with a way for the student to turn in work or take a quiz early if at all possible. The full policy on religious observance, and a link to many more religious holidays is available here.