Accommodations during covid-19 disruption (L&S): Supporting individual students who miss class due to illness, quarantine, or bereavement

During the coronavirus pandemic, some students will be prohibited from attending in-person class meetings because they must quarantine, self-isolate, or are experiencing possible symptoms. Instructors need to work with these students, if they are well enough to do coursework, to find alternate ways to continue coursework without penalty. Supporting students who need to temporarily stay away is part of keeping our campus community safe. [updated 8/23/2021]

Practical Strategies: 

Please clarify to your students how they can succeed in your course even if they need to miss class. Below are some practical strategies that can help you respond to these situations as they arise. Practices will vary by course and instructor.

  • Establish a policy in advance, state it on the course syllabus, and apply it consistently.
  • Provide an especially detailed syllabus with topics, dates, and assignments clearly outlined. 
  • Communicate essential announcements in multiple ways, including the Announcements feature in Canvas or your class Google Group
  • Post lecture materials (slides, notes, etc.) and assignments to Canvas.
  • Promote cooperation by asking students to share notes, or encourage all class members to contribute to a single shared class note document in Google Drive. 
  • Consider offering supplemental sessions via Zoom.
  • Consider a grading scheme that allows students to drop the score for one or more assignments
  • Adjust due dates for individual students
  • Many students, especially those in dorms, may be confined to a physical space that has limited resources and may have roommates who are always present in the room. Please be flexible as you work with students that are experiencing these issues.


The University leaves the final decision to the instructor, in accordance with criteria they have established and indicated on their syllabi, about how to accommodate students who miss scheduled class activities. If accommodations that allow the student to complete the class within the term are not feasible, a grade of “Incomplete” or dropping the class may be appropriate (see more information about dropping a class, or late dropping). L&S Undergraduate Academic Deans Services is available to both instructors and undergraduate students for consultation.

Further Guidance 

  • Notification: It is the student’s responsibility to notify their instructors of any absence due to illness or family emergency. 
  • Documentation: Generally, it is appropriate to ask for documentation related to the absence, but it may not always be available.
  • Instructors are encouraged to be flexible and supportive if a student must miss class due to illness or quarantine. However, instructors are NOT expected to simultaneously teach their in-person course as remote to accommodate a student.

Consultations and Questions

Colleagues are available for consultation, which can be especially helpful in challenging situations:

Keywordssick, illness, absence, miss, class, make up work, making up work,   Doc ID104537
OwnerKimbrin C.GroupL&S KB
Created2020-07-31 08:45:15Updated2023-07-05 15:12:35
SitesL&S KB
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