Guidelines for Extensions on Deadlines | University of Guelph Accessibility Services


Students are expected to contact their Student Accessibility Services advisor about the need for an extension at the earliest opportunity. At minimum, this involves sending a short email including the due date, course and name of the assignment ahead of time. Exceptional circumstances are described below.

We don't blame students for the problems they encounter - we welcome the opportunity to understand your experience.

Sometimes an extension is not the right solution and we need to think about other options.

General Principles 

Procedural Duty to Accommodate 

  1. The purpose of these guidelines is to describe our decision-making process. 

  1. In the event an accommodation cannot be supported, a logical and evidence-based decision-making process needs to have been followed. 

  1. Consistently using a principled approach is a tool to help us limit the influence of unconscious bias. 

  1. Articulating and sharing our approach helps students and faculty know how we make decisions. 

  1. The principles outlined here also provides a framework for considering appeals. 

Reducing Stigma 

  1. If a student is unable to meet a deadline, it is not a comment on their personal worth or their strength of character. Students have inherent worth – every member of our community has gifts and strengths, a unique perspective, and a right to dignity. When something has gone wrong, we focus on the situation, not the person or their character. 

Student Well-Being & Missed Learning 

  1. Extensions can sometimes perpetuate problems for a student and as a result, we have established guidelines for when to consider dropping a course. Examples of indicators of broader problems include: 

  1. Intensifying symptoms or maintaining a situation where a student is “stuck” 

  1. Creating a snowball or cascading set of missed academic work 

  1. Substantial missed learning opportunities that cannot be replaced through independent work alone 

Decision-Making & Procedures 

Typical Process 

  1. Does the student experience a disability that prevents (prevented) them from meeting an academic deadline? 

  1. Flare-up of symptoms associated with an episodic disability. 

  1. Student is using disability-management strategies and experienced a one-off setback. 

  1. The student is expected to reach out to their SAS Advisor for an extension before an academic deadline. Exceptions include: 

  1. Was in the hospital, 

  1. Had a concussion and total rest was advised, 

  1. Had a flare-up of a medical or mental health condition. 

  1. When reaching out to an Student Accessibility Services Advisor (information for the student): 

  1. The work does not need to be complete, 

  1. Identify the course, assignment, and deadline date, 

  1. Indicate that help is needed, 

  1. Make contact by email or telephone. 

  1. Student Accessibility Services advisor and student will work together to determine a new deadline that can be proposed to the instructor. 

Requests after a Deadline 

  1. After a deadline has passed, the following timelines for reaching out apply (whichever is earliest): 

  1. Within 24 hours of “returning” to classes, exams or studying 

  1. Within 5 days of being discharged from hospital 

  1. Flare-up of moderate symptoms (consistent with documentation): within 5 days of deadline 

  1. Flare-up of severe symptoms (consistent with documentation): within 10 days of deadline  

  1. If needed, flexibility on timelines will be granted the first time a student requests an extension, and/or for up to 2 times when there are mitigating factors (see below): 

  1. Up to 2 days when the initial requirement was within 5 days, 

  1. Up to 4 days when the initial requirement was within 10 days. 

  1. Mitigating factors: major incident occurs within the week leading up to deadline:

  1. Grief ,

  1. Victim of violence, stalking, publicly centered out/humiliated, 

  1. Major disruption to living arrangements (e.g., unexpected move).

  1. Student Accessibility Services does not support extensions after a deadline under the following circumstances: 

  1. The student did not heed advice to take a reduced course load, particularly when a heavy workload is known to be a concern (per documentation), 

  1. The student was focusing on other academic work, co-curricular activities, or employment, 

  1. The student forgot about the deadline,

  1. The “mark calculator” suggests it is unlikely the student will be able to successfully complete the course, 

  1. The student is unable to identify a reasonable plan for completing the assignment, 

  1. The student does not share required information with their SAS Advisor. 

Late-Semester Registration 

  1. Extensions for students who are new to Student Accessibility Services during the late-semester registration period will be considered using the following principles: 

  1. Usually for only one or two assignments (excluding requests for deferred conditions).

  1. Assignments that can be reasonably completed within a week. 

Additional Considerations 

  1. Student Accessibility Services acknowledges that instructors may have reasonable grounds for turning down a requested extension, such as: 

  1. The solutions or grading scheme was released to the class after the deadline. 

  1. The learning activities in the course are scaffolded in a way that the student cannot catchup. 

  1. The student has missed essential learning opportunities (field work, lab, guest presentation, group activities, etc.) related to the assignment that cannot be replaced. 

  1. University policy requires the student to seek a deferred condition. 

  1. If there are extenuating circumstances not addressed by these guidelines, the student’s Student Accessibility Services Advisor is to consult with the Manager of Student Accessibility Services. 

  1. Appeals will be considered per Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities (Policy and Procedures). 

  1. In situations where a student has missed a deadline because they have not yet learned the material, an extension can intensify the problems they are experiencing. Our approach is designed to try to find the right solution for the circumstances.