Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services

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Students with Extenuating Circumstances

Your studies may be impacted by illness or unexpected events during your time at Queen’s University. The university has developed a policy outlining the approach to providing students with extenuating circumstances with consistent and fair academic consideration. For more information, please review the information in the questions below. If you or a friend has experienced an extenuating circumstance and are looking for resources on campus or in the community, please take a look at this resource page.

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 temporarily 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 illness or mental distress*
  • 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
  • Disability for which you require ongoing accommodations

If you experience transportation issues, personal or family events, technological or computer failure, we advise you to speak with your instructor directly. 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 the administrative assistant for extenuating circumstances at 613.533.6000 X 74842 or intake.wellness@queensu.ca.

If you require ongoing accommodations related to a chronic or ongoing disability, please refer to the existing Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities and contact Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS): 613.533.2506 or accessibility.services@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.
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 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 the administrative assistant for extenuating circumstances at 613.533.6000 X 74842 or intake.wellness@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 613.533.250
If you answered YES to the questions above follow the flow chart below. Links to all forms are located in “Forms” section below.

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.
Sample Scenarios that Help Determine How to Submit a Request
Scenario 1: Request for Academic Consideration for 3 Days or Less

I have a very short-term health issue (e.g., food poisoning) or very short-term non-health related extenuating circumstance (e.g., I am going home for a funeral). I am expecting my need for academic consideration will be 3 days or less. I am going to be missing a test/exam/assignment/class.

  • Submit a Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form. No additional medical or supporting documentation is required.
  • It is your responsibility to follow-up with your individual instructors to discuss a plan for your academic considerations (e.g., writing the test you missed next week, reweighting the value of the test to your final exam, or the instructor may already drop the lowest test score in the course for all students so you may not require individual academic consideration). Your instructor will determine what academic consideration is reasonable and appropriate. Students received academic consideration are still required to meet the essential requirements/learning outcomes of the course.
  • Some Faculties/Schools require students to provide documentation when submitting second and subsequent requests in a term for academic consideration lasting 3-days or less. Some Faculties/Schools may also require students to provide documentation for requests lasting 3-days or less that occur during midterms or final exams. In situations where documentation is not available (e.g., you were at home and not seen by a health care provider), a Formal Attestation of Extenuating Circumstances Form signed at the Faculty Office may be submitted. Please see Section F (see page 3) of the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form and/or consult your Faculty or School website for more information.
Scenario 2: Request for Academic Consideration for More than 3 Days (Temporary Health Condition without Need for Accommodations)

I have a health condition (e.g., strep throat, pneumonia) or non-health related extenuating circumstance (e.g., family member is unwell). I am expecting my need for academic consideration will last for more than 3 days. I am going to be missing a few tests/exams/assignments/classes.

  • Submit a Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form. Supporting documentation is required.
  • If you do not currently have supporting documentation available at this time, submit the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form and indicate “documentation is not yet available”.
  • It is your responsibility to follow-up with your individual instructors to discuss a plan for your academic considerations (e.g., writing the test you missed next week, reweighting the value of the test to your final exam, or the instructor may already drop the lowest test score in the course for all students so you may not require individual academic consideration). Your instructor will determine what academic consideration is reasonable and appropriate. Students received academic consideration are still required to meet the essential requirements/learning outcomes of the course.
  • Supporting documentation can include the following:
    • Health Condition/Injury: Verification of Personal Health Condition, letter from a health care provider
    • Compassionate/Personal: Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance, letter from health care provider or other professional who is familiar with the circumstance (e.g., Human Rights Advisor, Chaplain, etc.)
    • Bereavement related circumstance: Obituary, death certificate
    • Confidential circumstance: Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance
Scenario 3: Request for Academic Consideration for More than 3 Days (Temporary Health Condition that Requires Accommodations when Returning to Academics)

I have a health condition (e.g., concussion, broken arm) or extenuating circumstance (e.g., traumatic experience). I am expecting I will require consideration for more than 3 days. I expect I might require some time away from classes and I anticipate needing to return at a gradual pace or I expect I may require accommodations to be able to fully participate in my courses while I continue my recovery (e.g., extra time on exams/tests/quizzes, adaptive technology for classes, tests/exams, smaller room to write tests/exams, etc.).

  • To begin, submit a Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form. Supporting documentation is required.
  • If you do not currently have supporting documentation available, submit the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form and indicate “documentation is not yet available”.
  • Once you are well enough, it is your responsibility to follow-up with your individual instructors to discuss a plan for your academic considerations (e.g., writing the test you missed next week, reweighting the value of a test to your final exam, or the instructor may already drop the lowest test score in the course so you may not require individual academic consideration). If you expect that you will not be well enough to follow-up with your instructor for an extended period of time (more than one week), it is recommended that you assign a delegate to follow-up with your instructor on your behalf (the delegate can be indicated on the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form).  Your instructor will determine what academic consideration is reasonable and appropriate. Students received academic consideration are still required to meet the essential requirements/learning outcomes of the course.
  • Supporting documentation can include the following:
    • Health Condition/Injury: Verification of Personal Health Condition, letter from a health care provider
    • Compassionate/Personal: Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance, letter from health care provider or other professional who is familiar with the circumstance (e.g., Human Rights Advisor, Chaplain, etc.)
    • Bereavement related circumstance: Obituary, death certificate
    • Confidential circumstance: Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance
  • Once you are well enough to begin gradually returning to academics, contact the administrative assistant for extenuating circumstances for an appointment (613.533.6000 X 74842 or intake.wellness@queensu.ca) with an occupational therapist to discuss short-term academic accommodations.
Scenario 4: Request for Academic Consideration for More than 3 Days (Ongoing Health Condition that Requires Ongoing Accommodations when Returning to Academics, NOT registered with Accessibility Services)

I have an ongoing health condition (e.g., major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, irritable bowel syndrome). I expect I will require ongoing academic accommodations in my courses. I experienced an exacerbation of my health condition. I am currently NOT registered with Accessibility Services. Given the severity of this exacerbation of my health condition, I expect I will require some time away from classes, and when I return I expect I may require ongoing accommodations to be able to participate in my courses (e.g., extra time on exams/tests/quizzes, adaptive technology for classes, tests/exams, smaller room to write tests/exams, etc.).

  • To begin, submit a Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form. Supporting documentation is required.
  • If you do not currently have supporting documentation available, submit the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form and indicate “documentation is not yet available”.
  • Once you are well enough, it is your responsibility to follow-up with your individual instructors to discuss a plan for your academic considerations (e.g., writing the test you missed next week, reweighting the value of a test to your final exam, or the instructor may already drop the lowest test score in the course so you may not require individual academic consideration). If you expect that you will not be well enough to follow-up with your instructor for an extended period of time (more than one week), it is recommended that you assign a delegate to follow-up with your instructor on your behalf (the delegate can be indicated on the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form). Your instructor will determine what academic consideration is reasonable and appropriate. Students received academic consideration are still required to meet the essential requirements/learning outcomes of the course.
  • Supporting documentation can include the following:
    • Health Condition/Injury: Verification of Personal Health Condition, letter from a health care provider
    • Compassionate/Personal: Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance, letter from health care provider or other professional who is familiar with the circumstance (e.g., Human Rights Advisor, Chaplain, etc.)
    • Bereavement related circumstance: Obituary, death certificate
    • Confidential circumstance: Verification of Confidential Extenuating Circumstance
  • Once you are well enough to begin gradually returning to academics, contact the Intake Coordinator at Queen's Student Accessibility Services at 613.533.6000 X 77628 or qsas.intake@queensu.ca to discuss the process for registering with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services for ongoing accommodations.
Scenario 5: Request for Academic Consideration for More than 3 Days (Ongoing Health Condition that Requires Ongoing Accommodations when Returning to Academics, REGISTERED with Accessibility Services)

I have an ongoing health condition (e.g., major depressive disorder, irritable bowel syndrome). I experienced an exacerbation of my health condition. I am currently REGISTERED with Accessibility Services for ongoing accommodations related to this health condition. Given the severity of this exacerbation of my health condition, I expect I might require some time away from classes.

  • Connect with medical care, if required (e.g., Student Wellness Services or your health care provider in the community).
  • Contact your instructor to request consideration for the missed deliverables and cc your Accessibility Services Advisor. Your advisor may request updated or additional documentation, depending on the severity of your condition and nature of the request.
Scenario 6: Ongoing Health Condition that Requires Ongoing Accommodations, NOT registered with Accessibility Services

I have an ongoing disability (e.g., ADHD, Learning Disability, Post-Concussion Syndrome). I am currently NOT registered with Accessibility Services. Given the nature of my disability, I expect I may require ongoing accommodations to be able to participate in my courses (e.g., extra time on exams/tests/quizzes, adaptive technology for classes, tests/exams, smaller room to write tests/exams, etc.).

  • Please refer to the existing Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. Register with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services for ongoing accommodations. Do NOT submit a request through the Extenuating Circumstances Policy, as instructors and Faculty/School Office are not authorized to approve ongoing academic accommodations.
  • Contact the Intake Coordinator at Queen's Student Accessibility Services at 613.533.6000 X 77628 or qsas.intake@queensu.ca to discuss the process for registering with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services for ongoing accommodations.
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 submit your request immediately. If too much time has passed since the academic requirement, you may be asked to follow-up with your Faculty/School Office to determine next steps.

How do I proceed if I am requesting academic consideration in a class from a different Faculty/School?

Students are advised to submit documentation and/or forms related to the Policy on Academic Considerations for Students in Extenuating Circumstances through the Faculty or School Office that is granting their degree. For example, if you are in a Commerce course (e.g., COMM 200), but you are a Faculty of Arts and Science student (e.g., BScH in Biology), follow the instructions for the Faculty of Arts and Science.

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 613.533.2506. If you are registered for accommodations through Queen’s Student Accessibility Services AND your request for academic consideration is NOT related to your disability (e.g., you are registered with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services for a learning disability and your family member passed away), please submit a Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form (follow the instructions on page 3 based on your Faculty/School Office).

Forms
  • Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances –Follow the directions to determine if documentation is required. See page 3 of the form to determine how to submit the Request for Academic Consideration Form (based on your Faculty/School).
  • Formal Attestation of Extenuating Circumstances Form - Your Faculty/School might require that you submit this form if you have made multiple requests for academic consideration or if you are requesting consideration for a major assessment (e.g., a final exam). The Formal Attestation of Extenuating Circumstances Form will need to be signed in person at your Faculty/School Office for on campus students or submitted online or via email for distance students. The instructions for each Faculty/School are listed on the Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form.
  • Options for supporting documentation for Request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances Form (if request is for 3 days or more):
    • 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 (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.
Links to Individual Faculty/School Office Websites
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 your Faculty or School Office or the administrative assistant for extenuating circumstances (613.533.6000 X 74842 or intake.wellness@queensu.ca).