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Supporting Pregnant & Parenting Students

Title IX protects the rights of pregnant and parenting students. For faculty this means: 

  • Medically documented absences must be excused and the student must be allowed to make up work missed
  • If a student takes a leave of absence, the student must be able to return to the same academic status before the leave
  • Pregnant students may not be excluded from participating in particular classes or programs
If a student discloses a pregnancy to you, you should inform the student of the right to contact the Title IX Coordinator to discuss options for ensuring the student can participate in class and have any medically necessary accommodations. Once the student provides medical documentation to the Title IX Coordinator, the student will receive a verification letter to review with you which discusses the necessary accommodations. It is up to you to identify what academic activities may be appropriate that preserve the quality of the course or academic requirement, while still allowing for the accommodation. If there are multiple options available, you are encouraged to offer those to the student. Commons accommodations include: 
  • Rescheduling an exam or breaking an exam up into multiple parts
  • Excusing an absence from class and giving an alternate assignment
  • Allowing a student to participate in class virtually while on bedrest
  • Allowing for extra breaks to pump break milk
  • Granting an incomplete, in applicable
The easiest way to refer them to the Title IX Coordinator is to email the student and copy the Title IX Coordinator, who will then reach out to the student directly.
Usually this means planning ahead to reschedule the exam for another date. This may include having the student take it earlier or giving an incomplete to take it later. Depending on the nature of the course, you may opt for an alternate to the exam such as a presentation or other type of way to demonstrate the learning of the material.
Spouses, adopting, or non-birth parents can also receive excused absences through the Title IX office. These absences also need to be medically necessary and be documented by the medical provider. This could include attending doctor appointments and the delivery itself. These students can also be referred to the Title IX Coordinator to provide their medical verification.
No. You should refer the student to Title IX or Student Disability Services for verification of absences and/or accommodations. Please do not ask a student for medial documentation directly.
No. All of the supportive measures are available to all students regardless of their geographic location. Online students are also entitled ot the same protections. 
Title IX as a federal civil rights law typically overrides individual class grading policies. There are usually reasonable ways to accommodate this. Some examples include: recording a lecture and asking the student to watch it and provide feedback, meeting one-on-one or with a small group, or doing alternate assignments that cover the same content. However, there may be in-person requirements for clinical supervision hours or other such accreditation requirements that cannot be waived. You can discuss these with the Title IX Coordinator if you have questions. In general, if there is ever an alternative offered for any other type of temporary medical issue, the same alternative should be offered for pregnant students. 
You can contact the Title IX Coordinator if you think the student is requesting something unreasonable or does not want to complete the alternatives you have designed. The Title IX Coordinator is a resource to both you and the student in determining what academic accommodations are appropriate. 
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