Similar to the spring 2020 semester, the COVID-19 pandemic requires Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to exercise flexibility and make temporary adjustments to enable faculty, staff and students the opportunity to be successful.
This temporary student absence regulation, effective for the 2020-21 academic year, is designed to align with the university’s reopening plans submitted to the state as well as provide appropriate protections for faculty and students should a student miss class, activities or assignments due to COVID-19.
This regulation provides guidance for students who are required to enter quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 and addresses how to handle disruptions in their attendance due to these circumstances. This regulation is narrowly focused as there are numerous other reasons for student absences that are beyond the scope of this regulation.
VCU has instituted this regulation in good faith. As members of the VCU community, students and faculty should agree to certain guiding principles.
Students must commit to using this regulation responsibly without violating the Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct. All students must know and understand the consequences of using this regulation improperly in light of the Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct.
Faculty should commit to exercising flexibility and be willing to make reasonable academic adjustments to enable students the opportunity to be successful.
VCU students are responsible for regular and punctual attendance in each academic experience, including lectures, discussions, field experiences, and laboratories. Faculty establish and manage their class attendance practices at their general discretion as a requisite to the successful acquisition of knowledge and skills. Students who miss any scheduled classes, activities and assignments are responsible for completing all material covered or assignments made during the absence unless otherwise designated by the faculty. Students should also be familiar with any attendance requirements for their class as published in the course syllabus.
Students are responsible for communicating any absences with their faculty and for making faculty aware that academic adjustments are needed. Faculty are expected to make academic adjustments for students who miss class for excused absence due to medical reasons.
Students should note that some faculty may have a syllabus that describes an attendance policy with a specified limit on the number of absences. While this regulation would supersede the majority of such policies, there are certain exceptions: see the frequently asked questions for specifics. Clarification with the faculty over any absences is highly encouraged.
Academic adjustments determined by faculty to be reasonable under this regulation are separate and distinct from reasonable accommodations provided to students with disabilities under the university's policy on Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodation. Students with disabilities who require accommodation should contact the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity Office (SAEO) or Division for Academic Success (DAS). Faculty must continue to provide the reasonable accommodations for disabilities noted in an individual student's accommodation letter in addition to any academic adjustments made as a result of this regulation.
Students who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who test positive for COVID-19, or have been contacted by the health department must contact the VCU COVID-19 call center at 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843. See VCU COVID-19 reporting process.
If a student has been identified for isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19, then the following outlines the responsibilities of both the student and faculty, as well as what is required for addressing missed instruction:
Student Health Services or other health care provider will provide notification for excused absence to the student, which the student can then provide to their faculty members.
Additional information about this policy can be found in the answers to these frequently asked questions. This FAQ page will be updated frequently to respond to feedback about the regulation.