Class Attendance Policy

Class attendance is expected of all students because the formal basis of a college learning experience is the lecture, the laboratory, and the discussion group. Faculty members establish and maintain attendance requirements in their courses and must inform students and the Office of Advising of those policies. Students are responsible for meeting class and examination schedules. Unwillingness to meet attendance obligations may result in a penalty, often failure in the course.

Any student with an excessive number of absences or attendance patterns of concern should be brought to the attention of the appropriate class dean.

Dean’s Excuse Policy

Under certain circumstances, a student may be officially excused from a class or classes with a Dean’s Excuse, and make-up privileges are appropriate for the excused class or classes. The Office of Advising issues Dean’s Excuses as per the policy as stated in the faculty handbook; if a Dean’s Excuse will be issued, the student receives confirmation by being copied on the email sent to the student’s faculty. A student may initiate a request for a Dean’s Excuse from the following offices, depending on the circumstance:

Class Dean in the Office of Advising

  • Participation in the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR)
  • Bereavement
  • Family emergencies
  • Extraordinary circumstances (as determined by the Class Dean in the Office of Advising)
  • Religious observance. Students should discuss with their course instructors any dates of planned absences for religious observances. Dean’s excuses may be considered if required by the instructors. Please note that requests for this reason must be brought to a Class Dean or the College Chaplain no later than 12:00 PM on the drop/add deadline (the end of the second week of classes) during the semester in which the religious observation will occur. Please compare dates on your class syllabi with dates you may need to request a Dean’s Excuse for religious observance. A comprehensive list of holidays may be found on this Interfaith Calendar provided by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Requests will only be considered for observances that require your absence from class.

Bailey Health Center

  • Admission to area hospitals
  • Major medical or psychological problem requiring absence from class.
NOTE: For minor medical problems, students cannot expect to receive a Dean’s Excuse because they are sick, even if they receive prescription medication. Students who make their own decision that they are too sick to attend class should inform their instructors of their absence, but will not receive a Dean’s Excuse. Visits to Bailey Health Center for routine medical conditions should not conflict with a student’s class schedule. In the case where a student has been seen by a health care professional other than the College physician, the College physician will review documentation provided by the student to determine the seriousness of the medical condition.

COVID-19 related Dean’s Excuses

Given the unique public health circumstances that exist during this academic year, Bailey Health Center and the Office of Advising are providing COVID-19 related information in regards to Dean’s Excuses for medical reasons

If a student suspects they have contracted COVID-19 and is seeking a Dean’s Excuse, please follow these steps:

  • Students learning remotely/from home: Please obtain documentation from a medical provider at home regarding your diagnosis and submit to Bailey Health Center. After review, and If symptoms are significant enough to interfere with remote learning/engagement with classes, Bailey Health Center will submit a Dean’s Excuse confirmation to the Office of Advising, who will process the Dean’s Excuse.
  • Students learning on-campus: First contact Bailey Health Center for consultation and COVID-19 testing. If a positive test result is received, the student must follow the College’s protocols for self-isolation and clearance. If symptoms are significant enough to interfere with remote learning/engagement with classes during self-isolation, Bailey Health Center can submit a Dean’s Excuse confirmation to the Office of Advising, who will process the Dean’s Excuse. 

Counseling Center

  • Hospitalization or emergency off-campus treatment for psychological reasons
  • Acute and serious psychological distress that would prevent most students from being able to attend class.
NOTE: The Counseling Center does not normally support retroactive requests for missed classes or coursework.

Upon their return, students should consult with the relevant professor(s) to discuss the professor’s plan to accommodate the dean’s excuse.  Because a dean’s excuse is not available for class absences related to activities such as field trips, trips related to research with faculty, or other special opportunities, students are directed to communicate with relevant faculty members to request possible accommodations. Faculty members have the right to refuse to grant accommodations for absences not covered by a dean’s excuse.

Athletics

For varsity athletics (competitions away from campus). Varsity athletes seeking dean’s excuses for planned absences are expected to provide course instructors with the dates and total number of proposed class absences as soon as possible and no later than the first day of classes. These dates are generally listed in the form of a letter from Athletics, which the student provides to their course instructors. This allows faculty to determine whether or not the frequency of expected absences violates the pedagogical integrity of the class. In such cases, faculty may advise the student to drop the class or be prepared to accept the academic penalty for such absences.

Religious Observance

Students should discuss with their course instructors any dates of planned absences for religious observances. Dean’s excuses may be considered if required by the instructors. Please note that requests for this reason must be brought to a Class Dean or the College Chaplain no later than 12:00 PM on the drop/add deadline (the end of the second week of classes) during the semester in which the religious observance will occur. The deadline for future semesters may be adjusted when we are aware of religious observances during the initial weeks of a term that may call for a Dean’s Excuse. Please compare dates on your class syllabi with dates you may need to request a Dean’s Excuse for religious observance. A comprehensive list of holidays may be found on this Interfaith Calendar provided by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Requests will only be considered for observances that require your absence from class. If your request is granted, you and your professors will be notified. If you have questions about this process or about religious observances in general, please contact Chaplain Alex Hendrickson (hendrica@lafayette.edu) or your Class Dean to schedule an appointment.