Absences from Class

Class attendance is a student responsibility and is expected of all JHU undergraduate students. Occasionally, health, family or personal matters may interfere with your ability to attend class. In this situation, you are expected to notify your professors as soon as you’re able about missing class and discuss how to make up missed class time or assignments.

It is your individual professor who makes decisions about what constitutes an excused absence from their course. Student Outreach and Support (SOS) is unable to excuse absences from class. For questions about whether an absence can be considered excused, please review your individual professor’s syllabus and be sure to follow that professor’s policy on missed class time and assignments.

Please see policy on absences from class due to illness to better understand under what circumstances the Student Health and Wellness Center may provide documentation of a visit.

Emergency Notifications to Faculty

If SOS is notified that you are hospitalized or otherwise experiencing a crisis situation, and therefore unable to reach out to your faculty, we may notify your faculty that you will be absent from class. This is a courtesy to ensure that your professors are aware that you will be out of class for a period of time and to ensure your faculty are aware that you may need some flexibility with your academic requirements. Examples of emergency situations include: hospitalizations, experiencing an assault or other crime, and death or serious illness in the family.

SOS does not send out notifications related to planned absences for events such as vacations, weddings, job interviews, or minor illnesses. Professors are encouraged to understand that when SOS reaches out on behalf of a student, that student typically is in the midst of a serious health or personal crisis and would benefit from consideration.

If you are aware that a JHU undergraduate is hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated and would like to ensure that they are supported by our office, please contact our office.

In addition to emergency notification, SOS may be able to assist by connecting the student to health or other university related resources and assisting the student in developing a plan for managing academics. In situations where a student needs to take time off school to address a medical (physical or psychological) issue, SOS can facilitate a medical leave of absence.

Emergency Notification Guidelines

  • Emergency notifications are not required. If a student contacts a professor directly about resolving an absence due to an emergency, it is not required to involve SOS. Emergency notifications are for when the student is unable to contact instructors. Instructors are permitted to make their own decisions about excusing an absence without contact from SOS. Instructors are always welcome to contact SOS if they are concerned about a student’s wellbeing,
  • Emergency notifications are not verification that the emergency occurred. Documentation should be provided by the student upon the instructor’s request, if it is required for that course. SOS does not require documentation to send out an emergency notification. However, SOS does ask for enough detail to assess the situation and provide guidance for the student to manage their academics.
  • Emergency notifications are not a mandate to excuse an absence. The decision to excuse an absence lies solely with the instructor of a course. An emergency notification does not require an instructor to excuse an absence. However, professors are encouraged to understand that students using the emergency notification system are typically recovering from a crisis and would benefit from some academic flexibility.

When the Student Returns to Class

After sending out an emergency notification, SOS will contact the student involved to ensure that support is offered as the student resumes academic obligations. The student should be prepared to provide documentation verifying the reason for absence if it is required from your instructors, as documentation is not required for SOS to send an emergency notification. If you have concerns about the sensitivity of the situation and do not wish to provide documentation to your faculty, please discuss with a case manager. On occasion, a case manager may be able to verify the documentation and confirm this to faculty, so that you do not have to provide sensitive documentation to your faculty.