Explore UAB

The Undergraduate Catalogue policy on attendance states, "UAB recognizes that the academic success of individual students is related to their class attendance and participation. Each course instructor is responsible for establishing policies concerning class attendance and make-up opportunities. Any such policies, including points for attendance and/or participation, penalties for absences, limits on excused absences, total allowable absences, etc., must be specified in the course syllabus provided to students at the beginning of the course term.

Our continuing battle with COVID-19 requires that we consider possible adjustments to the foregoing policies, particularly as they pertain to class attendance policies and what might constitute COVID-related excused absences. It remains important for faculty to articulate clear written policies with regard to attendance and engagement in in-person and on-line courses respectively. Syllabi should clearly indicate all required elements of a course (attendance, quizzes, reading assignments, exams, group projects, etc.). For in-person courses, it would also be useful for syllabi to indicate how these requirements might be met should there be a need to pivot to a hybrid or remote format.

As was the case prior to the COVID pandemic, students with an accommodation from Disability Support Services of “Reasonable number of disability-related absences” should be provided the accommodations when reasonable. Questions or concerns related to accommodations for students should be referred to DSS.

Students who have possible COVID symptoms or who have a possible exposure to someone with COVID are being asked to log into their UAB Student Health Patient Portal and complete a screening survey. After triage, students may receive a message or letter with instructions to quarantine or isolate. Confirmed COVID cases result in a notification to the appropriate Dean and Associate Dean for that student. Pursuant to the notification protocol that is in place, and their absences from class should be considered excused. Students are also provided letters as proof of quarantine or isolation that they can give to instructors, but are not required to do so. Student Health can provide students with a letter stating that a student will be absent but not including the quarantine or isolation language.

When students are cleared to return to class on campus they are notified of that and are provided another form letter that they can provide to instructors. The Dean and Associate Dean will also receive notification and they will notify the same instructors that the student is cleared to be in class on campus.

Please periodically communicate to your students the testing and other health resources available to all UAB students through Student Health and the UAB Care Team. Encourage students to keep up to date on UAB United.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What do I do if a student says they have been quarantined or isolated due to exposure to COVID?

All students must use the Student Health Services process for seeking excused class absences due to quarantine or isolation. Students will also have access to letters that can be provided to instructors. It is appropriate for instructors to accept these letters as documentation for an excused absence from on campus class. There is no need for instructors to require a negative test for COVID or ask students about symptoms. Student Health makes all decisions about when a student may safely return to class and as noted above these decisions are available in writing.

Instructors should give students the opportunity to complete assignments in a way that corresponds as much as possible to the nature, scope and format of the original assignment. Options may include making up exams or other assignments, rescheduling student presentations, or arranging for early or late submission of written assignments.

Q. Under what circumstances may I insist on attendance, if a student does not actually have COVID, has not tested positive, or is not being quarantined or isolated?

As has always been the case, faculty establish their own attendance policies. Needless to say, these should be applied to all students equally. That said, the current pandemic has been a major source of all types of stressors for both faculty and students, and faculty are encouraged to consider these additional stressors and their effects on the mental health of students in establishing attendance policies and perhaps having more flexible options for how required course components can be satisfied.

Q. Do I have to conduct a class or other activity in a hybrid manner to accommodate students who are not able to attend in person?

There is no requirement for hybrid teaching (where students are simultaneously participating in person and remotely). As previously communicated, any change in course format from what is specified in the course schedule must be approved by the departmental chair and dean. We have previously provided faculty with guidance for how a classroom lecture can be automatically recorded by video technology installed in most UAB classrooms, requiring no action by the faculty member. The instructor later has the option of making the video, which will appear in the instructor's My Media in Canvas, available to students. There are also ways to make a video recording of a lecture available to specific students with DSS accommodations or COVID-related absences that have been documented by Student Health, should the instructor not want to make it generally available. Academic technology specialists in the Division of eLearning and Professional Studies are available to assist you with solutions.