Students are enrolled in several different courses, which may all have different policies and procedures for missed classes. Consider how you will communicate course policies to students, and let students know how and when to contact you. Keeping open lines of communication will help you and your students know what is going on, even as circumstances are evolving. Make sure your students understand how to let you know they will be out for multiple classes so you can make alternative plans with them.
There are a few tools available to you which may make this process easier.
- Include information in your syllabus and/or within your Canvas site about how and when you want students to contact you about absences.
- Consider asking students to submit a Course Absence Report (CAR) whenever they will miss class. Instructors can choose how they will receive these reports. Using this system can facilitate tracking student absences, keep them organized and creates a record that the advising office can access to help students as needed. For more information about CARs, check this Course Absence Reports user guide.
- You may prefer a standard email structure or template for communication around absences. If so, make it clear to students when they should plan to email you, what information the email should contain, and if you'd like them to use a specific subject line to help you stay organized.
- If students are out for longer than 5 days, College students should reach out to CASEnet or their advisor. Students in other schools should reach out to their advising office.
- Students experiencing an extended absence are likely also experiencing a great deal of stress, perhaps on top of illness. Thus, reducing any barriers to communication may increase the likelihood that they do reach out.
Please note that health information is private: students are not required to submit documentation around their health regarding absences, though some may choose to disclose. Penn's code of academic integrity applies to reporting absences and requesting assistance.