Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services

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Students with Extenuating Circumstances

Do you have an extenuating circumstance?

An extenuating circumstance is a personal circumstance beyond the student’s control that has a direct and substantial impact on the student’s ability to meet essential academic requirements or standards. The Policy on Academic Considerations for Students in Extenuating Circumstances enables students with extenuating circumstances to request academic consideration in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner.

Examples of issues that are considered extenuating circumstances by the University include:

  • Sudden or acute physical or mental illness
  • Serious injury to self or significant others
  • Bereavement
  • A traumatic event
  • Other serious personal/family crisis

What is not considered an extenuating circumstance?

Examples of circumstances that are not eligible for academic considerations include:

  • Transportation issues
  • Personal or family events (e.g., vacations, weddings)
  • Technological and/or computer failure

In these cases, we advise you to speak with your instructor directly. These circumstances are not generally supported by Faculty/School Offices, but instructors have the discretion to approve or deny these requests.

Students who do not feel they can meet academic requirements due to experiencing high levels of academic or exam related stress should seek out support from Student Wellness Services. Please contact Tess Grant, Occupational Therapist, at 613.533.6000 X75842 or tess.grant@queensu.ca.

Academic Consideration for Students Participating in Sanctioned Events or as Distinguished Guests

Extenuating circumstances may also include officially representing the university through an official university sanctioned athletic event (e.g., provincial, national, or international competition) or as a distinguished invited guest at a non-university event (i.e., showcase an exceptional achievement, talent, or ability on a provincial, national, or international stage).

Students are to complete the top half of the “Request for Excused Absence for Significant Event” form.

  • Queen’s Varsity Athletics Events: All requests related to athletic events must be approved by a member of the Athletics & Recreation senior management team or delegate before being brought to the Faculty or School Office for final approval.
  • Distinguished or Invited Guest: Request for academic consideration for participation in events where a student is invited as a distinguished guest at a non-university event requires additional documentation and should be brought directly to the Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs.
Are you already registered with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services?

If you are already registered for accommodations through Queen’s Student Accessibility Services AND your request for academic consideration is related to your disability (e.g., flare up of irritable bowel syndrome or change in medication for ongoing mental health concern that has impacted ability to complete an assignment) please contact your Accessibility Services Advisor. If your request is time sensitive (e.g., your exam or deadline is within the next 24 hours) please contact your instructor and/or course coordinator and cc your advisor. If you are requesting a deferral for a centrally scheduled final exam, also inform the Exams Office (exams@queensu.ca) to cancel your exam accommodations. If you are uncertain about who your advisor is please cc accessibility.services@queensu.ca or contact 613.533.6467.

How do I know if I need academic consideration or academic accommodations?

Academic considerations

  • Academic consideration is an action taken by an educator in response to a student with an extenuating circumstance. Academic considerations are intended to minimize the impact of a serious or significant extenuating circumstance that is beyond a student’s control. Considerations may include but are not limited to: an excused absence, a brief reprieve from coursework, extended or deferred deadline, a modified schedule for assignments, labs, placements, projects, or comprehensive exams, a deferred exam or project, a medical leave of absence, an alternate assignment, a re-weighting of assigned marks, course withdrawal without penalty, or other considerations deemed appropriate by a Faculty or School Office.

Academic accommodations

  • Academic accommodations are put in place to equalize learning opportunities and access to the academic environment for students with disabilities. A disability may include a temporary (e.g., a concussion or a broken arm) or permanent (e.g., a learning disability) condition. The functional limitations resulting from a disability can at times intersect with the academic environment in a way that creates a barrier for students. Some examples of accommodations include extra time on exams, permission to use assistive technology for exams, or permission to audio record lectures.

How do I proceed if I think I will require BOTH academic considerations and academic accommodations?

Please refer to the question below (i.e. "How do I submit a request for academic consideration?") and follow the path for requesting academic accommodations.

How do I submit a request for academic consideration?

To determine if you should submit a request through the Policy on Academic Considerations for Students with Extenuating Circumstances, please answer the following questions below:

  1. I have a valid extenuating circumstance (see description above)
  2. I am NOT currently registered with Queen's Student Accessibility Services OR I am registered with Queen's Student Accessibility Services, but this request is unrelated to my disability
If you answered YES to the questions above:

Do I need academic accommodations (e.g., extra time on exams, smaller room for exams, assistive technology) or academic considerations (e.g., exam deferral, extension on assignment)?

I require ACADEMIC CONSIDERATION (I do NOT require academic accommodations)
I expect to be impacted for up to approximately 48 hours

Complete the "Self-Declaration" Form

See instructions on reverse side of form RE: how to submit form

I expect to be impacted for 48 hours to up to 3 months

Complete the "Request for Academic Consideration" Form & provide supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Personal Health Condition Form, Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance Form)

Undergraduate Students

Submit to Faculty/School Office (e.g., Arts and Science, Engineering)

Graduate Students

Submit to your instructor or supervisor

I expect to be impacted for more than 3 months
Request is related to a diagnosed health condition
Request is NOT related to a diagnosed health condition

Contact your Faculty/School Office

I require ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS (I might also require academic consideration)
Long-term disability
Short-term health condition
Contact Health Services to request an appointment with the occupational therapist

A professional outside of Queen’s Student Wellness Services can provide supporting documentation.

If you plan to seek medical care for your condition at Queen’s Student Wellness Services, ask your health care provider about documentation during your appointment.

If you answered NO to either of the questions above:
I am not certain if I have a valid extenuating circumstance.

If you are uncertain about whether your extenuating circumstance is valid, please contact Tess Grant, Occupational Therapist at 613.533.6000 X75842 or tess.grant@queensu.ca.

I am already registered with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services.

If you are already registered for accommodations through Queen’s Student Accessibility Services AND your request for academic consideration is related to your disability (e.g., flare up of irritable bowel syndrome or change in medication for ongoing mental health concern that has impacted ability to complete an assignment) please contact your Accessibility Services Advisor. If your request is time sensitive (e.g., your exam or deadline is within the next 24 hours) please contact your instructor and/or course coordinator and cc your advisor. If you are requesting a deferral for a centrally scheduled final exam, also inform the Exams Office (exams@queensu.ca) to cancel your exam accommodations. If you are uncertain about who your advisor is please cc accessibility.services@queensu.ca or contact 613.533.6467.

How do I proceed if I am requesting academic consideration for an academic requirement that has already passed (e.g., missed midterm, test, exam or assignment deadline)?

Please contact your Faculty/School Office to determine next steps.

Forms
  • Self-declaration of Brief Absence Form - for brief absences due to unexpected acute illnesses or distressing events. This form should be used if you are unable to complete academic work (for marks) due to an unexpected illness or distressing event, and you anticipate being able to return to academic work within 48-72 hours. Download your form and follow the directions on the second page regarding submission. You do not need additional documentation for these brief absences.
  • Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances - for extenuating circumstances where you know that you will continue to experience impairments for a longer period of time (up to 3 months). These extenuating circumstances may mean you are able to do some work but not all work. Submit the form to your Faculty / School office.
  • Supporting documentation for Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances
    • Verification of Personal Health Condition - If your extenuating circumstances are a personal health condition, you can have this form completed when you meet with a health care professional and provide it as documentation to your Faculty / School Office.
    • Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstances - If your extenuating circumstances are not a health condition but you are not comfortable disclosing the specifics of the situation, then you can have a support professional at Queen's (the chaplain, sexual violence prevention and response co-ordinator, human rights office advisor etc) who is aware of your situation complete this form.
  • Request for Excused Absence for Significant Events - If you are participating in an event at the provincial, national, or international level that is either a Queen's Varsity Athletics event or an event to which you were invited as a distinguished guest, you can complete this form.
Who do I contact if I am still uncertain of where I should go for support?

If you do not know whether you require an academic consideration or accommodation, or if you have questions about the policy, please contact Tess Grant, the contact for the extenuating circumstances policy (tess.grant@queensu.ca OR 613.533.6000 X75842), or your Faculty or School Office.