Excused Absences

Excused Absences

Effective: January 3, 2011

Last Updated: Approved by EPC April 28, 2010; amended and approved by Campus Assembly on November 9, 2010, amended and approved by TLC 11-15-17; approved by EVCAA 1-24-18, amended and approved by TLC 3-20-19; approved by EVCAA 4-30-19; revised and approved by EVCAA 8-12-20 (refinements to clarify existing policy approved 8-22-22)

Policy Owner: Academic Affairs

This policy is applicable to all delivery modalities.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. It is the responsibility of students to plan their schedules to avoid excessive conflict with course requirements. However, there are circumstances that lead to excused student absence from the classroom.

1. Students will not be penalized when legitimate circumstances lead to their absence from attending class or taking a final exam. These are:

  • illness/injury, physical or mental, of the student or a student’s dependent(s);
  • medical conditions related to pregnancy, including time away from class for lactation;
  • participation in NCAA intercollegiate athletic events (does not refer to or include recreational sports, intramural sports, club sports, or other special interest sport clubs or organizations. Student athletes must provide instructors the team schedule during the first week of the semester.);
  • subpoenas;
  • jury duty;
  • military service;
  • bereavement, including travel related to bereavement;
  • religious observances; and
  • participation in formal University-wide system governance, including Board of Regents meetings, by students selected as representatives to those governance bodies.

Voting in a regional, state, or national election is not an unavoidable or legitimate absence.

2. Instructors are expected to accommodate students who wish to participate in party caucuses, pursuant to Board of Regents resolution (see December 2005 Board of Regents Minutes, p. 147).

3.In addition, there are other circumstances not mentioned above that lead to absence from class. These requested absences may be excused at the instructor’s discretion; students must provide written documentation to verify the reason for the absence.

Notification, Verification Of Absences, And Make-Up Work

4. Students must notify their instructors of circumstances identified in (1) or other circumstances leading to a request for makeup work as soon as possible and provide information to explain the absence. Some situations will be sufficiently urgent that arrangements for makeup work cannot be made prior to the date of an absence. In such cases, arrangements should be made as soon as possible following the student’s return.

5. No documentation is required for a medical absence that does not require medical services or for a single-episode excused absence listed in (1), nor should documentation be requested.

6. The instructor may not penalize the student and must provide reasonable and timely accommodation or opportunity to make up missed work, including exams or other course requirements that have an impact on the course grade if the student:

  • Was absent due to circumstances identified in (1);
  • Has complied with the notification requirements; and
  • Has provided verification if the instructor has requested further information.

7. Instructors should take all factors into consideration when determining whether to grant an excused absence and how to make arrangements for makeup work that has an impact on the course grade. If a student has missed a component of the course that cannot be made up in exactly the same manner, the instructor may substitute another activity or assignment in order to assess the missed components. If no substitution can be devised, the missing component(s) cannot be factored into determining that student’s final grade for the course.

8. Having many excused absences in a course that are due to legitimate medical reasons may cause a student to miss multiple graded components that make up a large portion of a course grade, and in some cases the makeup work cannot be completed in a reasonable time. Cases involving many excused absences in a course due to medical reasons are unique and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

Appeals Process

The first step of any resolution should be between the parties involved. Department head involvement may be requested to assist in finding a resolution. If the course instructor is the department head then the student should request assistance from the collegiate associate dean. If satisfactory resolution cannot be found at this level, an appeal can be made first to the Collegiate Dean and then to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.



A person, typically a qualifying child or other relative, other than the taxpayer or spouse, who entitles the taxpayer to claim a dependency exemption for tax purposes.

Medical provider

A licensed mental health or medical professional including registered nurses (RNs).


Bereavement refers to a period of mourning. For purposes of this policy, (a) bereavement is defined by the student, but (b) the terms of the excused absence, including length of time a student may be excused and makeup work must be negotiated with the faculty member.

COVID-19 Protocol for Excused Class Absences

COVID-19 falls under the category of exceptional circumstance. Any student who is absent from class for COVID-19 related reasons (as defined below) is excused from class. Such students do not need to request an excused absence and no documentation is required. Students are required to alert the instructor as soon as is reasonably feasible that they will be absent for COVID-19 related reasons. In these instances, it is sufficient for students to communicate with the instructor via email or phone. Alerting the instructor is to occur if at all possible before the class session(s) in question, not after.

Instructors are obligated to make reasonable accommodations for students who miss class because of the COVID-19 related reasons below. COVID-19 related reasons include but are not limited to the following:

The student:

  • is subject to a government quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19;
  • has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • is experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis;
  • is caring for an individual ill from COVID-19;
  • is caring for an individual subject to or advised to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19;
  • has underlying medical conditions that make them susceptible to COVID-19 infection;
  • is stuck in a different state due to quarantine requirements imposed by that state; or
  • is caring for one’s own child for a child of an immediate family member whose school or childcare is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.

Up-to-date COVID information is available on the UMD Safe Campus webpage.