COVID-19 Class Attendance Policy

COVID-19 Guidance Policies for Class Attendance - Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

A note to BSNES Faculty: A link to this policy (which will be available on the landing page of the Bayer School's website) should be provided to the students in your lecture classes, labs and recitations.

Current Duquesne University Class Attendance Policy:
Regular class attendance is strongly encouraged to facilitate maximum educational advantage. Attendance may take the form of in-person or online participation. Instructors are required to articulate a course attendance policy within the course syllabus. The attendance policy must include the impact of attendance on related course outcomes (e.g., assignments, examinations, presentations, final course grade, etc.) Regardless of the modality of delivery, students are expected to adhere to each instructor's course attendance policy.

In the case of absence, students are responsible for consulting the course syllabus and instructor regarding fulfilling missed course content. Students who are unable to attend class because of sanctioned university events, or extenuating circumstances such as illness, accident, hospitalization, or COVID-19-related reasons, should notify the instructor and be prepared to supply the instructor and others with any written verifications of the absences as required in the course syllabus. If technical circumstances prevent students from entering the class online site, it is the students' responsibility to notify the instructor in a timely manner and to work out a plan to make up the missed classwork.

BSNES-Specific Policies:
The attendance policies in the current undergraduate and graduate catalogs do not completely recognize specific circumstances related to courses offered in the Bayer School. As a school of science, Bayer School courses are offered as lectures, laboratories, or recitations, and offered in differing modalities (HyFlex (a mix of face-to-face and synchronous online), face-to-face, and online). Similar to University attendance guidelines, BSNES strongly encourages regular class attendance to facilitate maximum educational advantage. The University and BSNES is requiring students not to attend class if symptomatic for COVID-19, and is requiring that students who test positive for COVID-19 or have confirmed exposure follow University guidelines. Follow the link below for COVID-19 testing and symptom instructions (guideline #1).

Additional information about academics and COVID-19 at Duquesne is available at the link below (guidelines #2).

Because over 85% of the offerings in BSNES are provided using HyFlex modality, abundant face-to-face opportunities are available for lectures, labs and recitations. Students enrolled in courses offered in HyFlex in BSNES are required to attend lecture, lab and recitation, face-to-face, whenever possible within the parameters set forth in the course syllabus. Specifically, unless a student is living off campus and is fully remote, they should not enroll in a remote lab section, and are required to participate in in-person labs when offered. Specific lab sections are offered for BSNES majors, and BSNES students must take these labs in-person (no option for remote attendance) unless that student is a graduating senior who is fully remote, living off campus and requires the course for graduation this year.

Specific Details About COVID-19 Attendance Policies for BSNES:

1. It is very important to first establish the difference between: (1) exposed and in quarantine, (2) diagnosed and in isolation, and (3) self-quarantine. Decisions related to items 1 and 2 are made by either Duquesne University Health Services, or an off-campus medical provider (see the information linked to guideline # 1 above).

2. Item #3, self-quarantine, is not an established course of action under Duquesne's and the Bayer School's guidelines, with items # 1 and 2 the recognized courses of action related to approved quarantine and isolation.

3. Those in university approved quarantine will be out of class for generally 14 days (unless they become symptomatic).

4. Those in isolation cannot leave their residence during isolation, with the time in isolation generally being 10 or more days.

5. The general assertation is that students in quarantine are not ill and can perform all work assignments remotely, while those that are sick and in isolation may not be able to accomplish this depending on their level of sickness.

6. Students should immediately contact all of their instructors via the "Starfish System" to indicated that they are under University-approved quarantine or isolation, and working with their instructors develop a plan to receive instruction and complete course related work while in quarantine or isolation.

7. As stated above in point #2, self-quarantine is not a sanctioned course of action under Duquesne's and the Bayer School's guidelines, and is not an approved reason to miss class, lab or recitation related to COVID-19.

8. Perceived convenience is also not an approved reason for missing class, lab and recitation. Students are required to attend every class, lab and recitation possible within the metrics set forth in the accompanying syllabus.

9. Students living on campus or coming to campus for class, should be enrolled for in-person class/lab/recitation sections whenever possible.

10. Instructors are expected to make reasonable accommodations for students who miss classes, due to University-approved quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19 exposure, to make up classwork and/or get notes from a lecture.

11. Labs and other field-based classes are exceptions to this because it may not be impossible to make up classwork in these types of classes. These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

12. Students are responsible for contacting instructors prior to the missed class session(s) to indicate absence and the need to make up classwork/assignments.

13. If a student is forced to be absent for an extended period of time (generally more than two weeks) and is unable to complete assignments, exams, etc., the student and instructor will explore all reasonable alternatives before discussing withdrawal from the course or a grade of incomplete.

14. No portion of a grade will be based strictly on attendance. Instead, assignments should be based on participation, engagement and assessment, and faculty should design assessments that would allow ill/quarantined students to demonstrate participation/engagement regardless of modality.

15. Syllabi should indicate expectations for students who may be absent due to symptoms, COVID-19 diagnosis (isolation), and/or quarantine.

16. The Center for Teaching Excellence has developed COVID 19 language for syllabi.

17. Based on the circumstances of the students, the following guidance is provided:
• Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and in isolation: Student must not attend class, but is expected to participate in all assignments to the extent possible based on severity of symptoms. Students are expected to inform instructor of quarantine or isolation dates and to communicate regularly about their ability to participate during that time, through the Starfish System. Students are to contact the Office of Disability Services ( in the event they are not able to participate in coursework due to COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, to explore if a reasonable accommodation can be afforded.
• Symptomatic in isolation and needs testing or awaiting results: Student must not attend class, but is expected to participate in all course-related activities and/or assignments to the extent possible based on severity of symptoms, and will seek out a COVID-19 test through the Office of Student Health Services or a private medical provider.
• Confirmed COVID-19 exposure and in quarantine: Student must not attend class but is expected to participate in all course-related activities and/or assignments. Should symptoms develop students should seek out COVID-19 testing through the Office of Student Health Services or a private medical provider.
• For all isolation or quarantine: As previously stated, students are expected to contact the instructor via Starfish to develop a plan for the completion of course-related activities and/or assignments or indicate the student's inability to participate in face-to-face, HyFlex or other class-related activities.
• Students that do not fit any of the criteria described above, are required to attend class, lab and/or recitation whenever possible, based on the specific guidelines outlined in the accompanying syllabi.

In closing, under no circumstances is a self-imposed quarantine a proxy for University-approved quarantine and/or isolation. Any work missed because a student takes it upon themselves to self-quarantine, unless approved by the Office of Disability Services, cannot be made up. Additionally, students are required to adhere to the travel policies the university has set forth.