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Absence from Class

  • Issuing Office: Office of the Provost
  • Issued: December 1, 2008

Policy Statement

Absences due to University Sponsored Activities

Many students participate in University-sponsored activities in which they represent the University or their academic college or department. Such activities may cause a student to be absent from class. In many instances, such absences qualify as "excused absences" which means that the absence, with proper prior arrangement, is not subject to penalty and coursework may be satisfied through agreement between the instructor and the student. Some examples of events that may qualify for excused absence include: athletic competition; research or presentation in which the student is an integral member of the presenting team, musical or performing arts events. In order to determine if an event qualifies for excused absence, students are encouraged to discuss the activity with their instructor(s) and academic advisor.

Students seeking approval for an approved absence are responsible for notifying their instructor(s) at least two (2) weeks in advance of such absences. If the activity is at the beginning of the term, students should notify their instructor(s) as soon as possible. Instructors are expected to make reasonable accommodations for these class absences including administration of make-up assignments and exams whenever possible. Please note, however, that the requirements of some courses or programs may preclude such accommodations.

It is expected that students seeking an excused absence will develop a plan and timetable to make up the missed coursework with their instructor(s).

Other Absences

Unforeseen events or circumstances may occur that cause a student to be absent from class. These could include illness, bereavement, accident, or a catastrophic event such as fire. If such issues arise, students are encouraged to notify their instructors as soon as possible in order to apprise them of the circumstances leading to their absence from classes and to develop a plan, with a timetable, to make up missed coursework. Students may be asked to provide documentation to provide perspective that the class absence is warranted. Instructors are expected to make reasonable accommodations for these class absences including administration of make-up assignments and exams whenever possible.

The cases of absence due to illness and extended absences are described more fully below. It is strongly recommended that students alert their academic advisor as well to notify them of the circumstances and discuss potential next steps with them.

Religious Observances

Students should review the Religious Observances Statement in the event they are seeking an excused absence for a religious observance.

Medical Illnesses

In the event of absence due to a medical illness, students should review the syllabi for their courses with regard to the instructor's policy on absence. In cases of serious illness or medical conditions which impact a student's ability to participate in courses for an extended period,faculty may request that students provide a note from a physician or documentation indicating that the absence from class is warranted. General guidance regarding requests for such medical documentation can be found in the Health Center Notes Policy.

Documentation is not necessarily warranted for shorter term illnesses which may legitimately prevent a student from attending classes but which require self care, such as cold, viral infection or uncomplicated flu. Should absence due to illness impact a student's ability to participate in examinations or presentations, the student is strongly advised to coordinate with his or her instructors prior to the examination or presentation in order to explore the impact of the missed assignments and options. Based on this information, the student can make a decision regarding participation in the course.

Students should note that the Drexel Health Center will not provide notes to excuse absences for students missing class due to common illnesses. The Health Center will also not provide notes to excuse absences for students for medical conditions that were not treated at the Health Center. If, in the judgment of a health care professional of the Health Center, the student will be out of class for an extended period of time due to a serious illness or medical condition, the Health Center will provide an appropriate note. Examples of serious illnesses or medical conditions may include but are not limited to:

  • Mononucleosis, which requires bed rest and/or removal from campus
  • Hospitalization and/or surgery
  • Severe injury requiring bed rest
  • Severe flu and/or dehydration requiring bed rest
  • Highly contagious diseases (chicken pox, measles)

Extended Absences

In the event of extended absence where several classes have been missed, students should explore options other than those described above, such as incomplete grade (please reference the Grades policy) or withdrawal (please reference the Course Withdrawal policy).

In the event of an extended absence due to a chronic medical condition or disability, students are strongly advised to contact the Office of Disability Services to explore potential accommodation and their academic advisor to explore academic options available to them. A student's academic advisor can review policy governing such options as medical withdrawal or incomplete and any potential results of electing in these options. Documentation will be required by the Office of Disability Services in order to enact incomplete grade or withdrawal from courses after the course adjustment period but before the end of the quarter. Confidentiality is maintained by the Office of Disability Services.