Modification to UA’s Class Absence Practices / Effective Monday 16 March 2020

March 3, 2020


To: Arizona Faculty

From: Liesl Folks, Ph.D., MBA, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Date: March 3, 2020

Subject: Modification to UA’s Class Absence Practices / Effective Monday 16 March 2020

** A new memorandum dated August 12, 2020 supersedes this memorandum.

I am writing to request your robust support for modifications to our protocols and practices for student class absences to align with the advice from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how best to limit the spread of infectious diseases, especially with the current concern over the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19. 

Specifically, the CDC recommends that people stay at home if they feel sick, especially if they think they may have an infectious disease. However, the need to stay home may impact the student’s class participation, which often has implications for their course grades.  It is critical that students feel that they can miss one class or a series of classes without penalty, to adhere to the public health protocol to limit disease spread.   

Our campus protocol to align with the CDC guidance is as follows, and I ask for your support as we implement this protocol swiftly, starting on Monday 16 March 2020.

  • Students will be strongly encouraged to stay at home if they feel sick, and most especially if they think they may have an infectious disease.
  • Students that need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness, are responsible for emailing their course instructor, with copy to the Dean of Students at, to let them know of the need, as soon as possible.  There is NO need for a medical excuse to be provided, at least initially (see below).
  • Students are responsible for completing any work that they might miss due to illness, including assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.
  • Students are responsible for communicating with their instructor(s) via the means of communication established by the instructor(s), e.g., via D2L, email, text, etc.
  • Students who need to miss more than 1 week of classes in any one semester will be required to provide a doctor’s note of explanation to  The Dean of Students Office will communicate the receipt of the note (with expected end date) out to the relevant faculty.

Students that adhere to these processes should not be penalized per the attendance policy for the course.

I ask that the faculty make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for students who cannot come to class due to illness.  Suggestions for reasonable accommodations include:

  • Provide students an opportunity to join a live lecture via Zoom and/or recording of lectures through Zoom and making those recorded lectures available on D2L (which is a closed platform). See online for support from the Office of Instruction and Assessment.
  • Request that students who join via Zoom or who watch recorded lectures provide feedback through mandatory discussions, quizzes or essays on the material covered in order to receive credit for attendance and participation. 
  • Make-up exams or tests might be administered through D2L.  Otherwise online proctoring methods are available.

Note that the CDC recommendation applies equally to teaching assistants, who should also stay home if they are sick.  Please do work directly with your TA(s) to develop a plan for how to manage in the event that they should have to stay home due to illness.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated on this and all the other many efforts that are rolling out campus-wide to prepare the campus for the possible spread of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 on our campus.