Academic Accommodations in Physical Education Courses

Physical exercise and practice of a fitness, sport, dance, or yoga class should be an important part of every Berkeley student’s life. It reduces stress, keeps happy endorphins flowing, does positive things for your body and mind, and most importantly it is FUN!

Students with disabilities who need accommodations in order to fully access Physical Education (PhysEd) courses will be accommodated through the Disabled Students’ Program. Students with disabilities have both rights and responsibilities in this academic setting, as in all academic settings.

Participation and attendance are key components of a PhysEd course. Physical Education Program has an absence and performance policy related to the objectives of the program. This document serves as a guide to assist students in successfully participating in a PhysEd class and faculty in accommodating DSP students, so that both the student and the faculty member instructing the class are very clear on policy and expectations, and both have a positive experience.

  1. Students with disabilities who need accommodations to have full access to a PhysEd class, should apply for accommodations and services through the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP): dsp.berkeley.edu.
  2. The Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is critical. Students must be registered with DSP and request an LOA to be sent to the instructor to qualify for accommodations. Apply for accommodations and send the LOA as soon as possible. LOAs will be accepted whenever they are submitted but accommodations do not apply until after the instructor receives the LOA. (Accommodations are not retroactive.)
  3. Students should follow up to ensure that the letter was received by the instructor. Without it, the instructor is not obligated to give accommodation.
  4. Students need to plan ahead for success. If an LOA comes to the instructor late and there are make-up classes required in order to pass, students cannot assume all the work –including showing competency--can be done in the last week or two of classes.
  5. Accommodations for each student are within the LOA. The instructor is not obligated to fundamentally alter the course syllabus for DSP students, however, if an instructor has a concern about listed accommodations, she or he should bring the concerns to the DSP specialist who signed the LOA, not to the student.
  6. If an instructor needs to verify medical documentation for an absence, DSP will review medical documentation and verify. Instructors should not request medical documentation from DSP students. The instructor has the right to expect completion of required activities by the student, and the student is expected to meet the course objectives.
  7. DSP accommodations for Physical Education may include consideration for extra absences, possibly rest time during class, and other accommodations depending upon individual student need and the LOA.
  8. Students with absence accommodations still need to participate regularly in class and perform the required activities to show competency. DSP specialists will work with the instructor to help determine reasonable absence accommodations for the course. Any absences accrued prior to the instructor receiving the LOA are not excused absences under the LOA.
  9. It is critical that if the DSP student thinks that accommodation may be needed at any point in the semester, that they request and get the LOA to the faculty member as soon as possible.
  10. Students should speak with the instructor as soon as possible about the LOA and accommodations needs and communicate with the instructor to formulate a plan when the student needs to use an absence accommodation. Communication is key to successful implementation of an LOA.
  11. The student should also be aware that within the Physical Education Program itself, the faculty follow a general policy for absence allotments beyond the stated number of absences for non-DSP students:
    One (1) extra absence in a once per week class.
    Two (2) extra absences in a twice per week class.
    On a case by case basis, if there is documented reason for the student to require additional absences, it is advised that the faculty member discuss any concerns regarding additional absences with the DSP specialist as soon as possible, and work together to come to a reasonable resolution.