Attendance and Excused Absences

Student Attendance

  • Students are expected and encouraged students to attend all class meetings at Centre College. Being present is essential to the full learning experience – your own as well as your peers – that we value and offer at Centre College.
  • Instructors are expected to track attendance, keeping a record of who is absent for every class meeting. The number of class absences is reported with final grades at the end of the term; for this report it does not matter whether an absence is excused or not – an absence is an absence.
  • By stipulation of the Course Approval subcommittee of CCAS (Committee on Curriculum and Academic Standards), participation may be a factor in course grades, but points should not be awarded simply for attending class.
  • If a student misses one week of consecutive class meetings (three MWF, two TR) and they have not been in touch, please submit a Student Notice through Navigate or the Report a Concern tile on CentreNet (which will take you to Navigate).


Excused Absences

The College has created a system to recognize some absences from class as excused. An excused absence provides a student the right to submit graded work for that class meeting early or late on a timeline agreed upon in consultation with the instructor. If the exact work cannot be made up, a substitute assignment may be identified or that component of the course grade may be waived, again in consultation between student and instructor. Some excused absences are provided by various College offices, while others are under the purview of instructors. Please note that an instructor may excuse any absence from a class meeting at their discretion.

Anytime a student does not attend a class, they are expected to communicate with their professor. With the exceptions of sudden illness or true emergencies, the student should inform the professor prior to the missed class for an absence to be excused and to establish plans for making up work. Please share this expectation with your students, including whether you expect such notice for excused absences provided by a college office.

If you have questions, please be in touch with your division chair and/or associate dean. Here are some more details about particular circumstances.


Instructors are asked to manage responses to absences when:

  • A student is ill and there is no major graded assessment in your course. Please manage the student’s absence as best possible based on the information the student shares with you.
  • Grief/bereavement. The College recognizes the profound impact of grief in the life of our students. For support, students may contact the Chaplain of the College, the Associate Dean of Student Well-Being, or the Assistant Dean of Student Well-Being , who can connect them to resources. For academic work, students should be in touch with their professors to work out accommodations.
  • Religious holidays conflict with class. The Chaplain shares a list of Religious Holidays, and students should be encouraged to self-identify and self-advocate as appropriate to their personal or family practices. If you need assistance with these, please be in touch with the Chaplain.
  • Family emergencies occur. Please manage the student’s absence and provide an excused absence or not based on the information the student shares with you as best possible.

For all of these cases, please feel free to consult with your division chair and/or associate dean as you have questions or might need assistance.


College offices provide notification of excused absences due to:

  • Some instances of student illness.
    • Student’s absence due to illness should be approached with concern for the student’s health and support for the student’s efforts to make up missed work.
    • If no major graded assessment falls on a day missed due to illness, please manage the student’s absence as best possible based on the information the student shares with you. Do not require your student to seek an excuse from Student Health or the Dean’s Office.
  • Athletics competition. The Athletics Office sends emails to instructors identifying when a student-athlete is excused due to competition. The goal is to send these out a week in advance, although sometimes last-minute changes happen due to injury. The general guideline is that up to three absences for athletic competition are excused during the regular season. Additional excused absences may occur because of last minute circumstances and/or post-season competition; these are determined by consultation between the Athletics Director and Associate Dean.
  • Certain College and Extramural Events are approved through the Associate Dean. Typical such events include presenting at or attending conferences and contributing to Norton Center productions. These should be requested at least a week before the event.
  • Title IX. Sometimes students need an excused absence or test accommodations as a supportive measure under Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator informs instructors when an academic support measure is deemed appropriate. If longer term academic accommodations are needed, the Title IX Coordinator will work with the Academic Affairs Office to determine reasonable supportive measures. Instructors should contact the Title IX Coordinator if they have questions about appropriate accommodations.
  • If an absence due to illness results in missing a major assessment as identified on your syllabus (e.g., exams, papers, presentations, quizzes, and reflections), you may ask the student to seek an excuse from Student Health or a health-care professional prior to class, if possible. If the illness is sudden, they may not be able to obtain an excuse prior to class, but direct them to contact Student Health immediately, who will communicate with you if the student’s illness is verified. If a student shows up for a major assignment, and is clearly too ill to complete the assignment, you may excuse them based on your own observation. You may suggest that they call for an appointment with a healthcare provider but an excuse from that provider will not be necessary. 


Instructor Attendance

Instructors are expected to meet their classes in-person as scheduled. If you know in advance that you will miss class for a justified reason (e.g., jury duty, attendance at a professional meeting) you should inform your Division Chair and let them know how you will make up the missed class time and/or your arrangements with a colleague to substitute.

Instructors who must miss a class meeting because of illness or some unforeseen reason (such as a family emergency) should send an email or other notice ASAP to their students informing them the class will not be meeting as scheduled.  Instructors should also inform their Division Chair, who will arrange for notices to be posted on the doors of their classrooms. As best possible, instructors are encouraged to think about how they will enable their students remote or make-up learning despite not being able to be physically present in class.