Students are expected to work with faculty directly about any absences they may anticipate or when they have experienced a class absence – regardless of the length. Students should consult the syllabus for each class to determine how absences will be managed. When in doubt, students should communicate proactively with their faculty.
Student Care and Outreach will only notify a faculty member of a student’s class absence where the student is physically unable to do so on their own or where the student has missed 5 or more consecutive days of school (about a week) for documented reasons. A notification is sent only as a convenience for the student and does not excuse the student’s absence. In all other situations, our Philosophy of Care centers on student self-agency, including the expectation that students will communicate on their own with faculty, staff, and employers.
Types of Absences
- General Absences (less than 5 consecutive days of missed classes): Students should communicate directly with their faculty. An absence notice will not be sent for less than 5 consecutive days of missed school (about a week). Our Student Resources page on How to Talk to Faculty has great advice on how to communicate with faculty, including email templates for missed classes.
- Extended Absences (5 consecutive days of missed classes) because of specific extenuating circumstances: Students missing 5 or more consecutive days of classes (about a week) may submit an absence notification request with attached documentation that specifically notes each day of absence. Once reviewed, a notification will be sent for documented absences only. Students must submit this request themselves except during Emergency Absences described below.
- Emergency Absences: If the student is incapacitated or otherwise physically unable to submit an absence notification request, a family member or other contact can call or email Student Care and Outreach so a staff member can notify faculty. Follow-up documentation will be required.
- Concussions: Students who have experienced a concussion must complete an absence notification with appropriate documentation from their clinician which must include the date of the concussion incident and the date the student can return to classes. Please see Support for Concussion Injuries for specific information.
- Absences During Final Exams: During exams, absence notices are coordinated through the Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Operations. Students experiencing a documented health emergency, death in the family, or other justified reason should submit an absence notification request with attached documentation that specifically notes each date of absence. The Associate Provost will review and notify instructors as needed. In some cases, this may result in an incomplete grade pending completion of class requirements.
Important Details About Absence Notifications
- An absence notification does not excuse the absence or replace the absence policy listed on the course syllabus. Faculty may excuse the absence at their own discretion. We have no authority to excuse absences.
- The documentation must include the specific dates of absence(s).
- An absence notification is sent only for specific dates noted in the documentation – we will not send absences that require “general flexibility” for past absences or as an accommodation for a recognized disability accommodation. Students should consult with Disability Resources (firstname.lastname@example.org | 336-278-6568) for accommodations-related absences.
- Students should always speak to their faculty directly to arrange making up any missed work. Student Care cannot negotiate with faculty on a student’s behalf.
- Student Care and Outreach does NOT provide absence notifications for interviews, planned appointments or personal engagements (e.g., vacations or weddings). For pre-planned class absences, students are encouraged to speak directly with faculty to make a plan for missed classes and coursework. For absences related to religious observation, students should follow the religious observation policy for notification of faculty.
- Student Health Services does not provide absence notifications or excuses for class absences. Students who must be absent from class due to illness or injury should communicate directly with their faculty members for short-term absences due to illness, and faculty members should handle those absences consistent with class and departmental policies, without expectation of a direct notification from Academic Advising or Student Health Services. As noted in the Academic Catalog and Faculty Handbook, consideration for absences and missed coursework are at the discretion of faculty and academic departments, and students are responsible for material and assignments whether or not the absence was excused. Students receive a visit summary from their medical professional (whether Student Health Services, Timely Care, or other medical provider), including recommendations for whether they can attend classes and work as normal, can do so while wearing a mask, or if rest and/or limitations on class/work are recommended. This summary is usually available on the student’s electronic medical record (My Chart, TimelyCare site, etc.) Students may choose to share this summary with their faculty members.
Frequently Asked Questions About Absence Notifications:
What Documentation is Required?
Required documentation will vary based on the individual situation, but may include items such as hospital documentation, online link to obituary, funeral cards, Department of Public Safety or Elon Police Department reports. All documentation must include specific dates of absence. For exam related absences, students can use the provider form as documentation.
The documentation must note the specific dates of absence. If the absence is related to recovery from an injury, it must include that the student cannot attend class during recovery. It is not enough for a student to say that they stayed home for their own recovery without documentation to support that need.
What if I Don't Have Documentation?
An absence notice will only be sent for specific dates that are supported by documentation. In addition, the documentation must specifically mention the dates of absence. If the student does not have documentation or if the documentation does not mention the specific dates, we suggest they work with their faculty informally to talk through their absences and discuss a plan going forward.
Does an absence notification excuse a student's absence?
No. Whether an absence is “excused” is at the discretion of the individual professor and/or department.
Which assignments are required to be made up following an absence?
Class assignments and work arrangements will vary based on individual class/instructor requirements. All students should be in direct contact with their instructor to discuss arrangements.
What happens if I will be absent for the rest of the semester?
For long absences (2 weeks or more), students should consider whether a medical leave or personal leave might be warranted. Although absence notices can help, they are often not sufficient to offset the loss of content and difficulty in making up assignments/projects that might have been due during absences. As always, students should consult with faculty about any plan to be absent for extended periods.
Will Student Health Services notify my faculty if I am ill or issue a medical excuse for absences?
Student Health Services does not provide absence notifications or excuses for class absences. Students who must be absent from class due to illness or injury should communicate directly with their faculty members for short-term absences due to illness, and faculty members should handle those absences consistent with class and departmental policies, without expectation of a direct notification from Academic Advising or Student Health Services. As noted in the Academic Catalog and Faculty Handbook, consideration for absences and missed coursework are at the discretion of faculty and academic departments, and students are responsible for material and assignments whether or not the absence was excused.
Students receive a visit summary from their medical professional (whether Student Health Services, Timely Care, or other medical provider), including recommendations for whether they can attend classes and work as normal, can do so while wearing a mask, or if rest and/or limitations on class/work are recommended. This summary is available on their MyChart or other electronic medical record. Students may choose to share this with their faculty members.
Can parents submit absence notification requests on a student's behalf?
Only emergency absences can be communicated to Student Care and Outreach on the student’s behalf. To do so, parents can call or email our office. Documentation will be required following return. For all other absences, including extended absences, the student must communicate on their own. Except in emergency situations, no absence notice will be sent unless the student has submitted the absence notice themselves. This is consistent with our office’s Philosophy of Care.