Student Absences

Emergency Notification Policy

When students are absent for three or more days due to a crisis situation or unexpected, serious illness and are unable to contact their individual instructors directly, the Office of Student Health and Well-being can send out an Emergency Notification.

What is an Emergency Notification?

  • An e-mail notification from the Office of Student Health and Well-being to a student’s instructors and University officials. A copy of this message is sent to the student as well.
  • An announcement that an emergency situation (their own hospitalization, assault, accident, death in the family, etc.) prevents a student from contacting instructors directly and may also prevent them from fulfilling their academic responsibilities.
  • A source of information so faculty can anticipate the absence and, sometimes, can know when to expect the student to return to class.
  • A written reminder that the student should work directly with their instructors to determine how to complete any missed coursework during the absence.

Each instructor has the authority to make decisions about students’ absences and how the absence will affect students’ grades. Student Health and Well-being staff encourage faculty to keep in mind that students who utilize the emergency notification service are typically recovering from a crisis and would benefit from appropriate consideration.

How to initiate an Emergency Notification

  • For health-related emergencies, contact the Student Health Center by phone at 703-284-1610 or by visiting the office in Berg Hall.
  • For other emergencies, contact the Office of Student Affairs by phone at 703-284-1615, by e-mail or by visitng the office in Gerard 1028.
  • Be prepared to provide a detailed description of the emergency circumstances, as well as a reasonable explanation as to why you or the student is unable to contact theirinstructors directly. If possible, please include the length of time the student will be absent from classes.

Emergency Notification Guidelines

  • An Emergency Notification is NOT appropriate for non-emergency situations (e.g. car problems, planned absences, minor illnesses, or a past absence).
  • An Emergency Notification is NOT a request or mandate to excuse an absence. (This decision is at the sole discretion of the instructor).
  • An Emergency Notification is NOT a requirement for students. If a student contacts instructors about an emergency situation directly, it is not necessary to involve the Office of Student Health and Well-being as arrangements are made to resolve the absence.
  • An Emergency Notification is NOT verification that the information the student has provided is true, however, the Office of Student Health and Well-being will request documentation of the absence. (Documentation may include letters, notes, or discharge papers from Student Health Center, physicians, or hospitals; obituaries; or other official documents.)
  • Emergency Notifications are NOT appropriate for long-term illnesses, disabilities, or absences. For assistance with long-term accomodations contact Student Access Services.
  • Instructors are always welcome to share information with the Student Health and Well-being staff about any student concern. Instructors may also contact the student directly to discuss the student’s responsibility for completing missed course work, as well as any documentation required by the instructor when the student returns.
  • Staff members within the Division of Student Health and Well-being typically contact the student after the emergency notification process to offer support and assistance as the student resumes their academic responsibilities.
  • Knowing each student’s situation helps us provide the immediate help needed and to be better prepared when the student is able to return to class.