FAQs for Students
Whenever possible, students should communicate directly with their instructors before submitting a University Approved Absence. Instructors have the authority to make accommodations and/or academic adjustments for absences without a University Approved Absence.
Does the Class Attendance Policy apply to every class absence?
No. The policy does not apply to every class absence, but only three specific categories of absences intended for use only in very limited circumstances as outlined below from the Class Attendance Policy:
- Authorized university activities
- Disability/religious observance/pregnancy, as required by law and approved by Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC)
- Significant health conditions and/or personal family emergencies as approved by the Dean of Students, Gender Violence Service Coordinators, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.
Do I need a University Approved Absence every time I miss a class?
No. When a student has a University Approved Absence the instructor should not ask them for an official notice from the University Approve Absence Office. For example, if a student tells an instructor that they will be absent for religious observance, the instructor has the authority to work with them on an accommodation or academic adjustment for the absence without an official notice from the UAAO. It is not required for professors to receive a University Approved Absence notification to work with a student.
Please note that University Approved Absences will not be approved for commonly occurring illnesses, minor injuries, or non-emergency surgeries. Some common examples of absences that do not qualify for a University Approved Absence are general doctor’s appointments, strep throat, upper respiratory infections, influenza, migraines, ear infections, common colds, stomach bugs, pink eye, sprained ankles, etc.). Please work directly with your instructor to navigate absences for these reasons.
Will instructors be informed why I have a University Approved Absence?
No. When an instructor receives a University Approved Absence notification, the reason for the absence is not provided.
Who determines what an authorized university activity is?
University authorized activities are determined by the Educational Policy Committee. The Educational Policy Committee is comprised of elected faculty. For more information regarding the EPC, please visit the Office of Faculty Governance website.
What are examples of authorized university activities?
Authorized university activities include those activities that require a student’s participation on particular dates when representing the University, such as student body president at a national student government conference or NCAA varsity sports.
Currently, notifications for NCAA events are still being sent from the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes. The plan is for all University Approved Absence notifications to come from a single source, the University Approve Absence Office, to improve clarity and efficiency.
Examples of activities that are not considered University Approved Absences:
- Conferences and activities associated with student activities
- Presentations at local and regional conferences that are not invited
- Networking events
- Graduate school interviews
- Olympic trials
- Travel by an entire class to visit a research site, conference, etc.
While these events do not fall under the criteria for a UAA, they can still be legitimate reasons for students to be absent. Faculty are encouraged to work with students on absences that are not University approved.
What are examples of significant health conditions?
Examples of significant health conditions may include (but are not limited to):
- Emergency surgery, hospitalization, severe communicable diseases that require isolation (i.e. measles, mumps, tuberculosis, varicella), a severe injury/condition that affects mobility and/or cognition, or acute exacerbation of a chronic mental health issue.
What are examples of personal or family emergencies?
Examples of a personal emergency/family emergency may include (but are not limited to):
- the death or acute onset of a life-threatening illness of an immediate family member, direct exposure to or involvement in a current or recently occurring personal traumatic event, or a dramatic and sudden change to life circumstances.
What about common illnesses?
The UAAO issues University Approved Absences due to significant health conditions that require the student to be absent for a period of time (generally 5 or more days). The University Approved Absence Office does not approve absences for commonly occurring illnesses such as colds, viruses, flu, ear infections, migraines, upper respiratory infections, strep throat, stomach bugs, pink eye, sprained ankles, mild to moderate COVID-19, etc. If a student is ill and needs to be absent from class for a commonly occurring illness, they will need to work directly with their professors on these absences as noted in the Class Attendance Policy.
I have been told by a medical professional I need to isolate, does this qualify for UAAs?
Students who test positive for severe communicable diseases such as measles, mumps, tuberculosis, varicella are eligible for a University Approved Absence for any classes missed during their isolation period.
On occasion, students may be asked by a health provider to limit their activities while waiting for test results. This does not require a University Approved Absence and faculty should be working with these students on an individual basis. Only students who test positive for severe communicable diseases will be issued University Approved Absences for their isolation period.
It is your choice to request UAAs and not every student in isolation may want or need them (for example, if you feel well enough to attend classes remotely, or if a faculty member is working with you directly to excuse your absence without notification from the UAAO).
Routine testing does not qualify for a University Approved Absence.
Please note that UAAs apply only to class absences, not to your employment. Make sure you reach out to your work supervisor to let them know you will be unable to work.
Does Campus Health or the Dean of Students issue University Approved Absences?
All University Approved Absences come from the University Approved Absence Office.
What if I have a concussion?
Students should visit Campus Health to be evaluated for a concussion.
Students that are evaluated and diagnosed with a concussion by a provider other than Campus Health will need to submit a request for a University Approved Absence using the link provided on this site and provide sufficient documentation to support the request. The UAAO can issue up to 14 absence days for concussions if necessary. Additional accommodations are issued by the ARS office.
How long does it take to process a UAA Request?
The University Approved Absence Office reviews requests as promptly as possible. While it usually does not take more than 3 business days to review requests, request reviews may take up to 10 business days for review of requests and consultation with other departments as appropriate.
How long do I have to submit an absence request?
Absence requests must be submitted to the UAAO within 5 business days following the last date of absence and include documentation from your provider that supports the reason for the absence. UAAs submitted after 5 days will be denied. UAAs are not issued retroactively.
What documentation should I submit with a request?
Students must submit documentation that supports their request and provide enough information for the UAAO to determine if the request meets the qualifications of a University Approved Absence. Documentation for medical requests must be from the provider and include the reason for the absence. General provider notes/letters that only list absence dates are not considered sufficient documentation and will not be accepted. Requiring documentation ensures that absence requests meet the high bar that is intended by the policy and ensures that students are connected with ongoing support for these significant situations.
What are examples of reasonable alternatives?
As described in the policy, students who have a University Approved Absence will be provided reasonable alternatives, including the opportunity to obtain missed class notes and materials, to submit late assignments, and to make up quizzes and tests or an equivalent learning assessment. This provision is not up for discussion with the UAAO or other offices named within the policy. Instructors may share questions or concerns with their department chair. Per the policy, students may also contact department chairs to appeal if they believe they were not provided a reasonable alternative.
What do I do if my professor is not accommodating me and I was granted a University Approved Absence?
Given the swift and cumulative nature of a semester, an instructor should contact a student with a preliminary alternative plan within three business days of receiving notification of a University Approved Absence, or sooner if the absence takes place during a summer term. The student must respond to the instructor within two business days of receiving the alternative plan and discuss details with the instructor. After receiving the final alternative plan from the instructor, if a student feels that a reasonable alternative was not provided, they may submit an appeal within three business days to the instructor’s Chair or the Chair’s designee.
At any time, a student may file a report alleging that the University has failed to provide reasonable accommodations for the student’s religious beliefs, disability, pregnancy, or related medical condition pursuant to the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct (“PPDHRM”). The student may file a report under the PPDHRM following an unsatisfactory appeal determination by the instructor’s Chair or the Chair’s designee. Alternatively, the student may bypass the University Approved Absence Office appeals process altogether and proceed directly to filing a report under the PPDHRM. If a student first files a report under the PPDHRM, the University Approved Absence Office’s appeals process will be stayed until a determination has been made under the PPDHRM.
What do I do if my University Approved Absence request is denied?
If a student’s request is denied, it is because the request does not meet the Class Attendance Policy criteria and students will need to work directly with their faculty members following their absence. Instructors have the authority to make accommodations and/or academic adjustments when a student’s absence does not meet the criteria for a University Approved Absence.
Due to the strict criteria outlined in the policy, there is no appeal process for denied UAAs.