Attendance Policies

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General Attendance Policy

In recognizing the correlation between attendance and academic achievement as well as student retention, regular and punctual attendance is mandatory for students enrolled at the university.

The policy applies to all programs unless specified otherwise.

Absences

Students should strive to maintain satisfactory attendance and should miss class only when it is absolutely necessary. In instances in which personal circumstances sometimes keep students from attending all classes, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the course instructor prior to missing class. In cases where advance notification is not feasible (e.g., accident or emergency), the student must provide notification as soon as possible after the absence. This notification should include an explanation of why a notice could not be sent prior to the class.

Excused Absences

Some absences can be determined to be “Excused” absences and permit the student to make up missed coursework or receive an equivalent amount or type of work that would have been received in class. The following are only five acceptable reasons for an absence to be an “Excused” absence:

1)    Serious illness or serious medical emergencies on the part of the student or a dependent. The student must submit a doctor’s note explaining the reason for the absence to the instructor(s).

2)    Family emergency. The student must submit a note and supporting documents to their instructor explaining the reason for their absence. In case of a death in the family, a death certificate must be submitted as supporting documents.

3)    Legal. The student must submit the official documentation to their instructor explaining the reason for their absence.

4)    Military duty. Student must provide an official government, state, or civic document indicating conditions and length of required service.

5)    Authorized and approved events that are of significant relation to course content as approved by the faculty member and/or dean.

Proof of Excused Absence(s)

Students must submit proof of the reason for an absence (outlined above) to be excused to their course instructor. The instructor can require additional documentation substantiating the excused absence from the student and have established timeframe for such submission.

Make-up Work

To make up the excused absence course work, the student must initiate communication with the instructor to determine the deadline and what will constitute the make-up of the course work. If an excused absence is warranted, the instructor will provide the student an opportunity to make up any in-class quizzes, exams, or other assignments or activities that contribute to the final grade or provide a reasonable alternative by a date agreed upon by the student and instructor. Given the nature of some in-class assignments or work, some assessments may not be made up in their original form, and alternate forms of assessment may be required that provide a similar or equivalent evaluation of knowledge or skills (for example, an alternate form of a test if a standardized test was used in class, a paper instead of an in-class group project, etc.).

The final decision on the content and deadline of the make-up must be communicated to the student in writing, by the instructor, via university email. If the student does not follow the make-up plan (e.g., does not appear at the prearranged time or misses the deadline for make-up work), they forfeit their rights for further make-up of that work. Timely communication between the student and instructor is important.

If the student feels that they have been unfairly denied an excused absence, the student may appeal to program director/chair, who will consider the case and attempt to resolve the problem. If the case cannot be satisfactorily resolved at that level, a final appeal may be made to the grievance panel.

Absences for unexcused reasons will result in not being able to make up in-class work, quizzes, exams or other assignments and may negatively affect the student’s final course grade. The instructor is under no obligation to provide an opportunity for a student to make up work due to an unexcused absence.

All students are expected to be in class on time. Late attendance is disruptive to both the instructor and students. If a student is late for class more frequently than what the instructor(s) considers acceptable, the instructor will report the issue to the program chair or designee for appropriate disciplinary action.

A student who wishes to question his/her attendance must contact the instructor of the course in writing before the course ends or within the first two weeks of the next semester/term. This includes the summer terms, even if the student decides not to take course(s) during the summer terms. The instructor will review the request and reply to the student regarding the facts of the student’s attendance record. The school dean and Registrar may be copied on the written request and facts regarding the attendance record.

In the event that the instructor does not respond within 2 weeks or the issue remains unresolved after receiving the instructor’s determination, the student may appeal or request an exception to the attendance policy in writing to the school dean 15 days after emailing their instructor. The Program Director/Chair will call a meeting with a grievance panel, which consists, at minimum, of the dean and/or the Program Designee, one faculty member. The student and faculty member will be invited to present their perspectives of the issue to the grievance panel. The grievance panel will then determine an appropriate resolution; both the student and faculty member will be notified of the decision within seven (7) days. The decision made by the grievance panel is final and cannot be further appealed.

ESL Program Specific Attendance Policy

Fairfax University of America’s Intensive English Program’s (IEP) attendance policy requires all students to attend their scheduled classes and to arrive to class on time. The program recognizes that attendance in class alone is not sufficient to demonstrate learning/achievement of learning outcomes; however the university does recognize a correlation between attendance and academic achievement. Therefore, regular and punctual attendance in all courses is expected for students enrolled at the university.

The university maintains meticulous attendance for all students across all courses/programs. While attendance is recorded and monitored, there is no required minimum attendance for ESL students. Missing classes would not automatically lead to course failure. Instead, students advance from level to level based upon their academic progress in the course(s).

ESL students should strive to maintain satisfactory attendance, and should miss class only when it is absolutely necessary. In instances in which personal circumstances sometimes keep students from attending all classes, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the course instructor prior to missing class. In cases where advance notification is not feasible (e.g., accident or emergency), the student must provide notification as soon as possible after the absence. This notification should include an explanation of why a notice could not be sent prior to the class.

All students are expected to be in class on time and remain for the entire class period. Late attendance is disruptive to both the instructor and students. Also, students who arrive late may miss valuable class activities. For administrative purposes, students who are…

  • …0-10 minutes late will be recorded as present;
  • …11-30 minutes late will be recorded as late; and
  • …30+ minutes late will be recorded as absent.

Instructors have the right to mark a student absent if the student: is not physically present in class for more than 30 minutes per class at any point; or is physically present, but not participating or being disruptive.

If a student is late for class more frequently than what the instructor(s) considers acceptable, the instructor will report the issue to the program chair or designee for appropriate disciplinary action.

Non-Attendance

Students are expected to attend class as scheduled. Students who do not attend risk being withdrawn for non-attendance.

If a student needs to take an extended period of time off from their studies, they should apply for a Leave of Absence. If a student fails to return from a schedule Leave of Absence (LOA,) they will be withdrawn for non-attendance at the conclusion of the add/drop period in which their LOA was scheduled to end.

Students who do not attend class within the first 14 calendar days of the term will be withdrawn from their course(s) and will not be permitted to re-register for that semester.

University’s Official Census

Although the university tracks status changes and student numbers throughout the year the official Census date, for administrative purposes is October 15th. The number of students attending the university is used for a variety of reasons, including for federal reporting for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) reporting requirement for the university.

Students on an F-1 Visa

In addition to the university’s attendance policies, F-1 students have additional requirements that they must follow with respect to Federal regulation, which include maintaining satisfactory attendance each term/semester. Students who do not maintain regular attendance risk having their I-20s cancelled, leading to a loss of visa status; thus, failure to maintain attendance may result in loss of status. F-1 students who are having difficulty maintaining attendance are urged to meet with their advisor, the School head and/or the DSO of International Student Services as soon as possible to avoid loss of visa status.

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