Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of assistance must PTC provide to a pregnant student at school?
To ensure a student’s reasonable access to educational programs, PTC may be required to make accommodations that are responsive to the student’s temporary pregnancy status. For example, PTC may provide a larger desk, allow frequent trips to the restroom, or permit the student to have a beverage in class. Each situation is unique, so communication between the student and the instructor is critical.
- Does PTC have to excuse a student’s absences due to pregnancy or childbirth?
Yes. Title IX requires schools to excuse a student’s absences due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, for as long as the student’s physician deems the absences to be medically necessary. When the student returns to school, she must be reinstated to the status she held when the leave began, which should include giving her the opportunity to make up any work missed.
- Medical certification from the student’s physician may be required if a student needs extended recovery time due to pregnancy complications.
PTC may offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as retaking courses in a later semester or allowing the student additional time in a program and letting her finish at a later date, especially after long periods of leave.
- The instructor adjusts grades based on class attendance. Can the student’s grade be lowered because of the classes missed?
No. A student may not be penalized for being pregnant or experiencing pregnancy-related conditions. If an instructor provides specific credit or other advantages to students based upon class attendance, the student must be given the opportunity to earn back the credit from classes she missed so that she can be reinstated to the status she held before she took leave.
For courses with a lab component, an alternate assignment may not be available. These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis between the student, instructor, and SDS Counselor.
- What if some instructors or programs at PTC have their own policies about class attendance and make-up work?
Every institution that receives federal financial assistance is bound by Title IX. Therefore, PTC must ensure the policies and practices of individual teachers are consistent with Title IX and do not discriminate against pregnant students. For example, an instructor may not refuse to allow a student to submit work after a deadline she has missed due to pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, if an instructor’s grading is based in part on class attendance or participation, the student should be allowed to earn the credits she missed. Each individual instructor’s policies must comply with the provisions of Title IX.
- Does PTC have to allow a student to make up the work she missed while she was absent due to pregnancy and/or childbirth?
Yes, according to Title IX guidance, PTC must allow a student to make up work missed while she was absent due to pregnancy-related medical conditions, including recovery from childbirth. Instructors must allow a reasonable amount of time to make up all the work she would have been required to complete while she was absent. The makeup assignments and tests must be reasonably equivalent to those missed but need not be identical.
- What about internships, externships, and other off-campus elements of her program - does she have a right to participate in those while pregnant?
Yes. PTC must allow the student to continue participating in off-campus programs. For example, if her program provides opportunities to “work in the field,” PTC cannot deny her participation based upon pregnancy. However, PTC may require medical certification from a physician for participation provided the College or program requires such certification for all students who have a medical condition being treated by a physician. If medical certification is provided, PTC must abide by the physician’s decision.
Please note that certain programs may have requirements that are beyond the control of PTC. These requirements may limit the options for accommodations that can be made available.
- May an instructor require a student to keep up with lectures, reading assignments, papers, and online tests while at home on maternity leave?
An online class will be treated the same as a live class so a student’s absences will be accommodated as long as the student’s physician deems them medically necessary. The student may not be required to turn in work, even online, while on maternity leave until the physician releases her. PTC must provide the student with the opportunity to make up any work missed once her physician authorizes her return to school.
- What if the student cannot make up the work during the semester? If the instructor gives her an Incomplete, her academic status may be negatively affected. What can be done to prevent the negative effect on the student’s academic status?
Students who are approved for Title IX accommodations will not have their academic status negatively affected so long as they are meeting the agreed-upon requirements. The SDS Counselor, Academics, and Student Services will work with the appropriate personnel to resolve the status.
- May a student choose to take an Incomplete for the course even if she has not completed the required percentage of work?
Pregnant students who are approved for Title IX accommodations may be given an Incomplete, if requested.
- Are Title IX accommodations retroactive?
No. A student should apply for pregnancy and childbirth accommodations with the SDS Counselor as soon as she finds out she is pregnant. However, PTC will work with the student as much as possible to allow makeup work to be completed if the pregnancy interferes with her ability to complete the work on time.This does not apply to work already completed. For example, if a pregnant student, who has NOT requested accommodations, completes a test and earns a failing grade, the student may not request accommodations retroactively to have the failing grade expunged or be retested.
- If a student is taking online classes and tests but does not earn a passing score, is the instructor required to pass her?
No student is guaranteed to pass a class. Title IX requires accommodations but does not guarantee success. Title IX does not require the College to change a grade or refrain from awarding a grade that was earned through coursework.
- Will a student be given extra instruction or resources to ensure that a student is successful in a class?
Title IX only ensures that a student has the opportunity to make up assignments, tests, projects, etc., that she has missed due to pregnancy or childbirth. It does not require the institution provide additional instruction. It is the student’s responsibility to master the course objectives through independent study and use of textbooks, handouts, online resources and exercises, D2L materials, etc. The student should also make sure that she utilizes the resources provided through Academic Support Services such as tutoring, study groups, etc.
- Are instructors required to reach out to students who have missed classes due to pregnancy?
It is the student's responsibility to disclose information related to her condition and seek the accommodations. It is not the College's responsibility to independently identify pregnant students and assess their need for accommodations. It is also the student’s responsibility to continue to communicate with instructors about her situation, especially if there are changes that might require additional accommodations.