ATTENDANCE POLICIES AND PRACTICES

Students are expected to be regular and punctual in class attendance and to fully participate in the course. The University of Arizona believes that students themselves are primarily responsible for attendance and class participation. The University of Arizona Attendance Policy provides a general overview of expectations of student attendance and related issues, including Administrative Drop from class and important deadlines; however, the actual practice of how absences are managed by instructors warrants clarity for our community.

Preface

The University differs from the K-12 system, where the attendance policy is universal, and absences are reported to and maintained by the school’s administration. At the University of Arizona and most institutions of higher education, each instructor establishes and manages their class attendance practices. Instructors will provide students with a syllabus that outlines their policies with respect to absences.

General Philosophy

Students are responsible for communicating attendance issues with their instructors with as much notice as possible. The communication may occur via visiting office hours, after class, or email.

Modification to UA’s Class Absence Practices / Updated Wednesday 12 August 2020

Memorandum

To: Arizona Faculty, Instructors, and Graduate Teaching Assistants
From: Liesl Folks, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Date: August 12, 2020
Subject: Modification to UArizona’s Class Absence Practices and Recommended Syllabus Language


Recommended Language for Course Syllabi
The Teaching & Learning Reentry group and an advisory group of faculty members have finalized a set of recommendations for inclusion in your Fall 2020 syllabi. These are not policy requirements, but recommendations for communicating with students about the complexities of teaching and learning that will make this semester unique. The recommendations are organized by teaching modality, and can be downloaded from here.

Updated Guidance on Attendance Policies and Practices
On March 16, 2020 modifications to the University’s Class Absence Practices were enacted to align with advice from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how to best limit the spread of infectious diseases, especially with the current concern over the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19. Leading into the Fall 2020 semester, I am writing to provide a further update to that guidance.  I request continued strong support from instructors for these modifications to our protocols and practices for student class absences.

This guidance is intended to augment the Attendance Policies and Practices provided by the Dean of Students Office.

In accord with CDC guidance, it is required that UArizona students, faculty and staff who are sick with COVID-19, or who have recently had a close contact with a person with COVID-19, must stay home or in their living quarters (e.g., dorm room).  

However, the requirement to stay home may impact a student’s class participation, which often has implications for their course grades. It is critical that students feel that they can miss one class, or a series of classes, without penalty in order to adhere to public health guidance to limit disease spread.   

  • Please actively encourage students to stay at home if they feel sick or have any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Students who need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness or the need to quarantine/isolate are responsible for emailing their course instructor, with copy to the Dean of Students at DOS-deanofstudents@email.arizona.edu, to let them know of the need, as soon as possible. There is no need for a medical excuse to be provided for absence of up to a week (see more below).
  • Students are responsible for completing any work that they might miss due to illness or the need to quarantine/isolate, including assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.
  • Students are responsible for communicating with their instructor(s) via the means of communication established by the instructor(s), e.g., via D2L, email, text message, etc.
  • Students who need to miss more than one week of classes in any one semester will be required to provide a doctor’s note of explanation to DOS-deanofstudents@email.arizona.edu. The Dean of Students Office will communicate the receipt of the note (with expected end date) out to the relevant faculty.

Students who adhere to these processes should not be penalized per the attendance policy for the course.  

I ask that instructors make every effort to work with and provide modifications for students who cannot come to class due to illness. It is recognized, however, that remote learning may not be possible in some in-person laboratory and performing arts courses. Suggestions for modifications include:

  • Provide students an opportunity to join a live lecture via Zoom and/or recording of lectures through Zoom and making these recorded lectures available on D2L (which is a closed platform). Please see the examples and resources provided by the Office of Instruction and Assessment.
  • Request that students who join via Zoom or who watch recorded lectures provide feedback through mandatory discussions, quizzes or essays on the material covered in order to receive credit for attendance and participation.
  • Make-up exams or tests might be administered through D2L.  

Note that the CDC recommendations apply equally to teaching assistants, who should also stay home if they are sick, or have recently had close contact with a person who is sick. Please do work directly with your TA(s) to develop a plan for how to manage in the event that they should have to stay home due to COVID-19. Please utilize the COVID-19 Workplace Positive Case Protocol For Supervisors in the case that your teaching assistant tests positive for COVID-19.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated on this and all of the other efforts that are being implemented campus-wide in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.

Modification to UA’s Class Absence Practices / Effective Monday 16 March 2020

Memorandum

To: Arizona Faculty
From: Liesl Folks, Ph.D., MBA, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Date: March 3, 2020
Subject: Modification to UA’s Class Absence Practices / Effective Monday 16 March 2020

** A new memorandum dated August 12, 2020 supersedes this memorandum.


I am writing to request your robust support for modifications to our protocols and practices for student class absences to align with the advice from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how best to limit the spread of infectious diseases, especially with the current concern over the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19. 

Specifically, the CDC recommends that people stay at home if they feel sick, especially if they think they may have an infectious disease. However, the need to stay home may impact the student’s class participation, which often has implications for their course grades.  It is critical that students feel that they can miss one class or a series of classes without penalty, to adhere to the public health protocol to limit disease spread.   

Our campus protocol to align with the CDC guidance is as follows, and I ask for your support as we implement this protocol swiftly, starting on Monday 16 March 2020.

  • Students will be strongly encouraged to stay at home if they feel sick, and most especially if they think they may have an infectious disease.
  • Students that need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness, are responsible for emailing their course instructor, with copy to the Dean of Students at DOS-deanofstudents@email.arizona.edu(link sends e-mail), to let them know of the need, as soon as possible.  There is NO need for a medical excuse to be provided, at least initially (see below).
  • Students are responsible for completing any work that they might miss due to illness, including assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.
  • Students are responsible for communicating with their instructor(s) via the means of communication established by the instructor(s), e.g., via D2L, email, text, etc.
  • Students who need to miss more than 1 week of classes in any one semester will be required to provide a doctor’s note of explanation to DOS-deanofstudents@email.arizona.edu(link sends e-mail).  The Dean of Students Office will communicate the receipt of the note (with expected end date) out to the relevant faculty.

Students that adhere to these processes should not be penalized per the attendance policy for the course.

I ask that the faculty make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for students who cannot come to class due to illness.  Suggestions for reasonable accommodations include:

  • Provide students an opportunity to join a live lecture via Zoom and/or recording of lectures through Zoom and making those recorded lectures available on D2L (which is a closed platform). See online for support from the Office of Instruction and Assessment.
  • Request that students who join via Zoom or who watch recorded lectures provide feedback through mandatory discussions, quizzes or essays on the material covered in order to receive credit for attendance and participation. 
  • Make-up exams or tests might be administered through D2L.  Otherwise online proctoring methods are available.

Note that the CDC recommendation applies equally to teaching assistants, who should also stay home if they are sick.  Please do work directly with your TA(s) to develop a plan for how to manage in the event that they should have to stay home due to illness.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated on this and all the other many efforts that are rolling out campus-wide to prepare the campus for the possible spread of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 on our campus.

Types of Absences

General Absences

Absences related to medical appointments, interviews, weddings, funerals, personal/vacation travel, jury duty, etc., are examples of absences student must discuss directly with their instructor(s).

Religious Accommodations

The University of Arizona Religious Accommodation Policy requires faculty to reasonably accommodate the religious needs, observances, and practices of students upon request. Students should make accommodation requests directly to their instructors with as much notice as possible.

Military Leave

While rare, active duty and ROTC students may have summer military training/orders that conflict with the first week of classes. Students are aware of their training dates in advance and must inform their instructors with as much notice as possible. Faculty are encouraged to accommodate the students.    

Dean’s Excuse/Excused Absence for Group of Students

A Dean’s Excuse provides excused absences for university-sponsored events/activities for academic, non-academic, and recognized student organizations. Examples include student athletes, student body presidents, and student members of clubs/orgs representing the University of Arizona. If a student must miss a class or classes for a university-sponsored event, the faculty or staff responsible for that event requests a UA Official Activity Excused Absence Request Form from the Dean of Students Office.

Students who miss academic work (including but not limited to exams, homework, and labs) as a result of their absence, are required to make up the missed work within a reasonable period of time without penalty. Only University of Arizona personnel can request a Dean’s Excuse for students, the student is responsible for ensuring documentation is submitted appropriately, and for contacting their instructors to initiate arrangements for making up any missed work.

Emergency Notifications

The Dean of Students Office provides emergency notifications in situations where students must be absent from class due to an emergency situation but are unable to contact their instructors due to their condition. Emergency Notifications are not excused absences.