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Student Support
Student Absence

As stated in the ESF Academic Catalog, students are expected to adhere to the attendance policy stated by each course instructor. However students may find themselves missing classes for a variety of reasons. The Office of the Dean of Students can assist in navigating options related to student absence.

When a student, family member, or faculty/staff member makes a notification to Student Affairs regarding a student’s absence for a period of time (generally two consecutive days or more) due to hospitalization, emergency, or other critical incident, the Dean’s Office can provide appropriate notification (College Memo) and support services as requested by the student and/or College community.

The Absence Notification Process is designed to provide:

  • a central point of contact for students who need assistance with or are unable to notify faculty of their absences
  • information for faculty to anticipate an absence and when to expect a student to return
  • a written reminder that students must work directly with their faculty to determine possible arrangements to complete missed coursework

The Absence Notification Process is not designed to:

  • Request or mandate a faculty member to excuse an absence or accept missing/late coursework. These decisions belong to faculty
  • Provide verification of a student absence

Responsibilities of Students

Students who are absent for non-emergency reasons are encouraged to directly communicate with their faculty per their established attendance policy. (Examples of non-emergency situations are one-day absences, doctor’s appointments, pre-planned travel, etc.)

  • The student is responsible for communicating directly with their faculty when they are going to miss or have missed class. When possible, students finding it necessary to be absent from class should make arrangements with their instructors prior to being absent.
  • The student is responsible for contacting each faculty member in a timely manner to discuss any late assignments/missed work. There is no College policy related to missed work. This decision belongs to the faculty member. If granted extensions/make-ups/incompletes, it is the responsibility of the student to complete the work in the agreed upon timeframe.
  • If a faculty member requires absence verification of a non-emergency absence, students should be prepared to provide documentation to their faculty when they return. The Division of Student Affairs will not provide verification or proof of legitimacy for a non-emergency absence.
  • Students can contact the Division of Student Affairs upon return to campus to review any additional support resources that may be needed to assist in the transition back to campus.

Responsibilities of Faculty

Faculty should address absences directly with individual students per their established attendance policies. If a student is unaccounted for over a period of time that is of concern without any prior communication, notification should be made to the Division of Student Affairs as soon as possible.

  • It is the faculty member’s decision to determine whether any excused absence and extensions/make-ups/incompletes are given.
  • We encourage faculty to keep in mind that students who use the Absence Notification Process are typically recovering from a crisis or critical incident and would benefit from consideration.
  • If a faculty member prefers/requires absence verification, it is their prerogative to request that from the student.
  • If a faculty member feels a student is chronically absent, abusing the attendance/absence policy, or needs particular attention related to their absence, they are welcome to refer a student to the Office of the Dean of Students, who will follow up with both the faculty member and student to assist in resolving these concerns.
  • If faculty have questions regarding the enrollment status of a student, contact:
    • the Registrar’s Office for questions regarding withdrawal from an individual course
    • Division of Student Affairs regarding withdrawal from the College

Responsibilities of the Division of Student Affairs

Student Affairs will encourage students and faculty members to deal directly with one another for non-emergency absences. When the Dean's Office receives a request for an Absence Notification:

  • The Assistant Dean of Students (or designee) will collect specific information, including the anticipated return date.
  • If the circumstances are not considered an emergency or critical incident, a student will be directed to review the established attendance policy set in their course syllabus.
  • The Assistant Dean will determine with the student who needs to be notified and will send a College Memo (instructors, advisors, department chairs, coaches, College employers, etc.). The student will be copied on this email.
  • Depending upon the circumstances of the situation (including length of absence), the Assistant Dean (or designee) may inquire on behalf of the student about options, including whether a withdrawal from the course may need to be considered.
  • Upon a student’s return, the Assistant Dean (or designee) will attempt contact with the student inquiring about their situation and reviewing any follow-up resources available.

When Student Affairs receives a report of concerning absence, the Senior Assistant Dean will gather the necessary information to determine whether that student is missing.

  • If it is determined that there is potential that the student is missing, the appropriate protocol will be followed to determine the wellbeing of the student.
  • When some level of a determination is made, staff may be able to share with the reporter what findings they can with respect to the situation/privacy rights of the individual under FERPA.