Faculty Guidance on Student Absences

The Office of the Dean of Student Life is available for consultations around student issues (health, family emergencies, etc.) that impact class attendance. However, whether a student’s absence is excusable is the faculty member’s decision. Faculty may also wish to consult with the Director for Undergraduate Studies or Department Chair should they be unsure how to handle a student’s absence (or missed major assignment/exam) from a course.

In anticipation of these occurrences, we recommend that faculty provide guidance in the syllabus for students around missed classes and assignments, and clarify what type of absences will be excused and whether documentation is required for you to excuse the absence or allow for a make-up assignment/exam. For assistance in writing a policy for the syllabus, please contact the DUS or Chair for your department.

Please note at times, students may forward a note from the Student Health and Wellness Center verifying the date of a recent visit. This note does not contain information on a diagnosis to protect students’ privacy. This verification note is only sent to students with symptoms significant enough to impede on academics, and should suffice as proof that a student was too ill to attend class at that time. Ultimately, it is your decision whether to excuse a student absence due to illness.

Occasionally, the Office of the Dean of Student Life receives notification that a student is missing class due to an emergency that is medical or personal in nature. In these situations, we may notify you as a courtesy that the student is expected to be absent for a period of time. The student is still responsible for providing documentation (e.g. proof of hospitalization) if such documentation is required for per the syllabus for the course.

Some students are registered for disability accommodations that may include flexibility with attendance as an accommodation. Please consult with Student Disability Services should you have questions or concerns about making this type of accommodation.