About Absence Letters

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Given the transition to online instruction and Centers for Disease Control guidance related to social distancing, our standard procedures for providing absence letters are no longer practical. Should you find that you are unable to "attend" class or complete coursework, we encourage you to communicate directly with your instructors. Authority to excuse absences and/or permit make-up work is within their purview.

However, if faculty ask for an absence letter from our office, you may submit a request here. Please Note: Due to social distancing recommendations and new protocols for medical facilities, you most likely will not be able to procure documentation related to your situation. You may go ahead and submit the request without documentation. We will review it and let you know how we can proceed.

Absence letters are intended to provide information to faculty regarding student absences that they may use to determine whether or not to excuse the absence and/or permit make-up work. Absence letters do not excuse students from class nor ensure that make-up work will be permitted; this authority rests only with the instructor.

Important Things to Know About Absence Letters

  • We ask that students request an absence letter from the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students only if one or more of their professors has asked for one AND they meet criteria outlined in the Class Attendance Policy in the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Absence letters are not provided in advance, or during, absences and must be requested after a student has returned to classes. The one exception to this is requests for accommodation for religious observances (see below).
  • Students must request all absence letters within 10 business days of their return to class. The Student Assistance Center will not provide letters requested outside of this time frame.
  • We advise students seeking an absence letter due to a religious holiday to submit their request by the end of the second week of the course by completing a Request for Accommodation for Religious Observance (pdf). Get more information about making a request for accommoodation for religious observances.
  • The Emergency Dean should not be contacted regarding absence letters. Questions about absence letters should only be directed to the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students during business hours (8:30 am-5 pm; Monday through Friday, excluding university holidays).

What If I'm Not Eligible for a Letter?

We encourage students who do not meet criteria should inform their professors that they are not eligible for an absence letter, share the policy with them, and discuss how the absence will be managed in the course.

How Do I Request a Letter?

  1. If you are eligible for an absence letter, you may submit a request. Please be prepared to provide your supporting documentation at the same time you submit your request.
  2. We will review your request. If approved, we will send you a PDF letter you may distribute to your requesting professors. If denied, we will send you a communication alerting you to the denial.

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