Accommodation of Requirements

An accommodation of the Physical Education or Swim Test requirement may be granted if the student has a disability certified by a competent medical authority, which precludes ANY participation in physical education activity.

The department will adapt a physical education program and/or the swim test to the individual needs of a student with a disability whenever possible. The department offers a wide array of alternative courses where the level of physical activity is less strenuous than in most courses. All requests for accommodations to the Physical Education or Swim Test requirement due to disability must be made through Student Disability Services before any substitution, accommodation or postponement will be considered.

Permission for substitution or accommodation from the Physical Education requirement due to any non-disability related issue must be granted by the University Faculty Committee on Physical Education or the Director of Physical Education. Final authority for interpreting and ruling on requests for substitution, accommodation or postponement rests with the committee.

Procedure for Requesting Swim Test Accommodations:

  1. Complete the online Disability Self-Disclosure and Request for Access Accommodations Form.
  2. Meet with a SDS Counselor to explain access issues with meeting the swim test requirement. The SDS Counselor will provide guidance on the necessary disability documentation to support the accommodation request.
  3. You and your SDS Counselor meet with PE staff to discuss access concerns with taking the swim test and possible modifications or accommodations that can be implemented based on your disability. Potential accommodations include: an individual swim assessment, individual or small group swim lessons, a modified version of the swim test based on your effort and ability, or credit given for taking a substitution PE course. 
  4. Submit the required disability documentation needed to support an accommodation request for the swim test requirement. There must be a direct connection between the disability and the requested accommodation.
  5. If accommodations do not prove an effective means for meeting the swim test requirement, you will be advised of the petition process for requesting a swim test substitution

Procedure for Requesting PE Accommodations or Considerations:

Cornell offers over 100 PE courses ranging from low to high physical exertion levels that appeal to a wide variety of interests, skill levels, and physical abilities. Many students are able to identify and enroll in courses that will be conducive to their individual interests and needs. If you are concerned about finding a PE course due to your disability, you should: 

  1. Complete the online Disability Self-Disclosure and Request for Access Accommodations Form and identifying the disability-related concern associated with the taking PE courses. Appropriate medical documentation should be submitted as well.  
  2. Meet with a SDS counselor to discuss access concerns regarding PE courses. 
  3. Meet with a SDS counselor and PE staff to identify and enroll in courses that appear conducive to your disability needs. If necessary and appropriate, SDS and PE instructors will also work to modify course activities and/or implement needed accommodations so you can fully participate in the course. Potential accommodations might include: rest breaks during class, modifying certain aspects of the course activities, or providing adapted course equipment. 

Please note that if you have concerns about both the PE course and swim test requirements, you only need to submit the online Disability Self-Disclosure Form once, describing your concerns and needs related to both PE and the swim test on that one form.