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Title: Attendance Policy
Subject: Academic Affairs
Policy No: AA: 2015:04
Applies: All graduate and undergraduate courses
Issuing Authority: Provost / Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Officer: Deans
Last Revision: 08/25/2021
Last Reviewed: 08/25/2021


To establish policy, procedures, and guidelines for the management of classroom attendance and attendance records.


Under direction of the Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, all Deans, Department Chairs, and Department Heads shall implement this policy. All faculty shall ensure compliance with the policy.


This policy applies to students and faculty with respect to all graduate and undergraduate courses offered. Additional policies are independently developed and implemented by the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.


  1. Responsibilities of Students
    1. Students are expected to attend each meeting of each scheduled class for which they are officially registered and are responsible for knowing their instructors’ attendance policies as stated in the syllabus.
    2. Students who are absent for the reasons listed below must inform their instructors of their absence and provide documentation. For planned absences, notice must be given before the missed class meeting. In the case of unexpected absences, documentation must be provided as soon after the absence as possible. Students must consult with their instructors to determine what is considered acceptable documentation.
      1. Official University activities
      2. Illness
      3. Death of a family member or loved one
      4. Inclement weather
      5. Religious holidays
    3. In the case of rare and compelling circumstances not listed above, students should make every effort to discuss reasonable accommodations with their instructors in advance (if feasible) or as soon as possible afterward.
  2. Responsibilities of Faculty
    1. Faculty must keep accurate attendance records as needed to verify student attendance in compliance with federal financial aid regulations when requested.  Specifically, faculty must be able to accurately confirm, via the Student Attendance Status Verification reporting process, that a student has commenced attendance at the beginning of the term and accurately confirm the last date that a student attended in instances where the student did not complete and/or did not earn credit for a course.  
    2. Additional attendance requirements, if applicable, must be included in the course syllabus.
    3. In the case documented and excused absences related to the reasons listed above and to religious/spiritual observances, faculty must make reasonable accommodations to provide students the opportunity to make up their course work. 
    4. In cases where graded classroom activities cannot be replicated and the student has not exceeded the maximum number of allowable absences (as explained below), the faculty either will provide an alternative graded assignment or remove the activity from the calculation of the student’s final grade.
    5. Faculty are under no obligation to make special provisions for students absent for reasons other than those listed above or in cases where acceptable documentation was not provided. However, faculty are encouraged to consider accommodations for rare and compelling circumstances.
    6. Faculty may establish additional attendance criteria that are reasonable and consistent with this policy.  Criteria may include setting a maximum number of absences for a course (whether excused or unexcused) after which a student should withdraw from the class.
    7. Criteria may include setting a maximum number of absences for a course (whether excused or unexcused) after which a student should withdraw from the class. In accordance with the withdrawal schedule, a W will be assigned for a regular withdrawal and a WP or WF for a late withdrawal.  In cases where the withdrawal is due to excused absences, the student may submit a hardship withdrawal request, with appropriate documentation, requesting that a W be assigned.
    8. If a student develops a pattern of excessive absences, the faculty should advise the student to request assistance from the Dean of Students.
  3. Online Attendance Policy
    1. A student is officially considered “present” in the online portion of a course when Learning Management System analytic reports show that the student has visited each page, tool, or assignment as is necessary to conduct class work by the end of each week. This includes at least one visit to all pages, tools, and related materials presented within each week’s module as well as any other materials associated with class work for that week as specified in the course overview document.
    2. Faculty may actively check attendance and provide students with written notice regarding issues with their attendance record as they deem necessary. Additional policies regarding attendance and consequences for failure to meet the attendance requirements for this course, if any, are provided in the Grading Section of the course syllabus.
  4. Face-to-Face Attendance (for hybrid courses)
    1. For hybrid courses, the planned face-to-face class meetings are mandatory, unless otherwise noted.
    2. Failure to appear at face-to-face class meetings without documentation for an excused absence may result in penalties as prescribed by the faculty member in the course syllabus or at the discretion of the faculty member in accordance with Rowan University attendance policy.
      (Policy items 3 and 4 currently are under Senate review and are considered interim pending approval.)

Interim Addendum, Effective Fall 2021

  1. Under no circumstances should a student physically attend class when experiencing any symptoms of illness or when under instructions for self-isolation. 
  2. Extended absences for class sessions (3 or more days) for any reason should be processed through the Dean of Students office. Students may be required to provide documentation to their instructors for excused absences in accordance with normal policy except in instances of illness or other potentially COVID-related circumstances.  In such cases, the Dean of Students may ask for appropriate documentation; instructors are not to request documentation for student absences potentially related to COVID or illness and instead should refer students to the Dean of Students process. 
    1. Extended excused absences from the Dean of Students office will adhere to the following process: 
      1. An email will be sent to faculty (with a copy to the student) noting that the student cannot attend in-person classes, and should not be penalized.
      2. The letter will not reveal any confidential information about the student (i.e. reason for missing classes).
      3. The letter will include the date upon which the student may return to in-person classes and activities.
      4. Students are required to adhere to the course attendance restrictions as defined in the letter.
        Faculty may not require students to provide information beyond what is shared in the letter from the Vice President of Student Life/Dean of Students in order for the student to return to class. 
    2. Students are responsible for all assignments, due dates, completion of exams or other assessments, and all other assigned class work as stated in the syllabus or provided in instructions by the instructor. Late or missing assignments are subject to the course policies as stated in the syllabus. Instructors are encouraged to work with students with extenuating circumstances so that they can achieve successful completion. 
    3. Students eligible to receive services and accommodations from the Office of Disability Resources should provide each of their instructors with a copy of their accommodation letter via the AIM system. Accommodations are available for a variety of disabilities, including mental health conditions and on a temporary basis. 

Attendance considerations for each course type:

  1. In Person/Physical Presence Required:  Students must attend the class sessions at the location and time specified on the class schedule. Students who are unable to attend a class session must notify the instructor prior to the scheduled class session whenever possible.  In cases where students miss a class for reasons recognized as an excused absence, instructors should provide accommodations to make up missed work in accordance with normal policy.  In the case of extended illness or accommodations to avoid class attendance for a period of time, students should consult with the Office of Disability Resources and the instructor to make a plan that enables successful completion of the course. This may involve issuing an IN grade, creating an alternate assignment, or another solution that enables achievement of the learning outcomes and all assigned work.
  2. Online/Fully Virtual With No Meeting Time: Students will be responsible for completing all assigned learning activities and assignments in these online courses by the deadlines stated in the syllabus. There is no class meeting time and students may self-direct their participation in the course in accordance with stated deadlines. Failure to complete assignments or activities by stated deadlines may result in grade reductions or failure of the course.
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