311-A  Class Attendance Policy Amendment

Approved by President
Effective Date: August 4, 2020
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Responsible Office:  University Provost
Responsible Officer: Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

I. Purpose

The amendment’s sole purpose is to promote the health, safety, and welfare of all members of the MTSU community. Its drafting was recommended by the Academic Committee of MTSU’s COVID-19 Task Force in Report of the COVID-19 Task Force – Academic Committee Recommendations.

II. Amendment

Policy 311-A does not replace Policy 311 Class Attendance which remains in effect but is intended to supplement it. In the event of a discrepancy or inconsistency between Policy 311 and Policy 311-A, the provisions of this policy shall govern.

To help mitigate the spread of illness, the following students should not attend on-ground, in-person classes:

A.  Students who are ill.

B.  Students who answer yes to the any of the symptoms listed in Section VI.A. below (Pre-Class COVID-19 Self-Assessment) that are unrelated to any other condition, such as allergies.

C.  Students who isolate or self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 or after being exposed to other individual(s) who test positive for the virus.

The final grade of a student who falls into any or all of these categories shall not be penalized in any way because of absences that relate directly to those conditions. Students are expected, however, to keep their instructors as informed as possible regarding their status when they are absent from class and act with good faith and honesty when determining whether or not they should attend class.  

III. Amendment Duration

This amendment is temporary and will remain in effect only as long as the COVID-19 crisis requires the University to take exceptional measures to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the MTSU community. It will remain in effect until rescinded by the President on the recommendation of the Provost.

IV. Amendment Scope 

A.  Course-Delivery Methods. This amendment applies only to the attendance of regularly scheduled class sessions that are offered on-ground and in-person. Such sessions are found only in the following course-delivery methods (as defined in Course Types for Fall 2020 – MTSU Planning Document).

Conventional courses: All instructional components.

Hybrid courses: All on-campus instructional components.

Web-Assisted courses: All on-campus instructional components.

This amendment does not apply to the instructional components of the following course-delivery methods (as defined in Course Types for Fall 2020 – MTSU Planning Document).

Online courses: All instructional components.

Hybrid courses: All online instructional components.

Remote courses: All online instructional components (including any synchronous online content). Students who are too ill to participate in a synchronous online class session should consult the instructor’s attendance policy in the course syllabus.

Web-Assisted courses: All online components (including any synchronous online components). Students who are too ill to participate in a synchronous online class session should consult the instructor’s attendance policy in the course syllabus.

For those course-delivery methods not covered by this amendment, Policy 311 Class Attendance applies in its entirety.

B.  Types of Health-Related Absences

Although this amendment is designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on MTSU’s campus, it applies to all health-related issues and does not distinguish between various types of illness. A student who is sick – for any reason – should not attend on-ground, in-person classes.

C.  Non-Health Related Absences

This amendment applies only to health-related absences. Instructors may still adopt attendance policies that address absences that students accrue for other reasons, such as employment or participating in family-related activities.

V.  Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to:

A.  Perform a Pre-Class COVID-19 Self-Assessment prior to attending any on-ground, in-person class (see Section VI.A. below).

B.  Reference the course syllabus for details regarding notifying the instructor as it relates to being absent from class. 

C.  Keep their instructors as informed as possible regarding their status when they are absent from class.

D.  Act with good faith and honesty when determining whether or not they should attend class.

Note: Any student who deliberately makes a false claim regarding their health simply to gain an excused absence(s) from class may be found guilty of “Providing False Information,” as defined by Policy 540 Student Conduct, Section IV.B.3. and could be subject to disciplinary action by the University.

VI. Procedures

A.  Pre-Class COVID-19 Self-Assessment

Prior to attending any on-ground, in-person class, all students should perform the same self-assessment of their health that MTSU COVID-19 Response – Charting Our Course for a Safe Return to Campus requires all MTSU employees to complete before they arrive on campus:

1.  Question 1: Have I been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

2. Question 2: Do I have any of the symptoms listed below that are unrelated to any other condition (such as allergies)?

a.  Fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

b.  Chills

c.  Cough

d.  Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

e.  Fatigue

f.  Muscle or body aches

g.  Headache

h.  Sore throat

i.  New loss of taste or smell

j.  Congestion or runny nose

k.  Nausea or vomiting

l.  Diarrhea

Students who answer yes to either or both of those questions must not attend class.

B. Students Who Are Ill

Students who are ill for any reason should not attend on-ground, in-person classes until such time as their health has been restored. Students who have contracted COVID-19 must not attend on-ground, in-person classes until they are released by their healthcare provider  or have met CDC requirements concerning release from quarantine or isolation.

C. Students Who Isolate or Self-Quarantine

Students who isolate or self-quarantine after receiving a positive test for COVID-19 or after coming into close-contact with a person who has COVID-19 should absent themselves from class and not return until they have met CDC requirements concerning release from quarantine or isolation and/or they have been cleared to return by public health officials.

D.  Medical Documentation

If a student who is absent from class due to a health-related issue has been seen by a medical professional, the faculty member may request documentation that such a visit took place. This practice is consistent with Policy 311 Class Attendance’s stipulation that “the student has the responsibility to present excuses.”

But, because of privacy protections and rights, an instructor cannot require that any such documentation provide details or explanations about the nature of the student’s visit.

E.  Extended Absences

Students who must miss more than two (2) weeks of regularly scheduled classroom instruction should speak with their professor(s) immediately and also consult with an enrollment coordinator in MT One Stop for guidance to determine if withdrawing is in their best interest.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: November 2020.

References:

Policy 311 Class Attendance

Policy 540 Student Conduct

Report of the COVID-19 Task Force – Academic Committee Recommendations

Course Types for Fall 2020 – MTSU Planning Document