Plans if You Need to Miss Class

Life happens and sometimes you need to miss class. If you are able and well, GO TO CLASS! Still, faculty know that sometimes students need to miss class and many have flexibility built into their courses to accommodate when things come up. Look at the Syllabus Checklist (pdf) for each of your classes to learn exactly what flexibility your professors have planned. The syllabus may also have information on what to do (or not do) if you need to miss class.

Even if flexibility is built into a class you still need to use it wisely. You should not miss a quiz because you feel like staying in and binge-watching your favorite show. You should not miss class because you don’t want to walk outside in rain (or sleet, or snow, or heat). Be kind to your future self and save the flexibility for if/when you really need it!

Be proactive and develop a plan for what to do if you need to miss class… before you even need it!

Attend class if you are well and able – it might seem like it will be easy to catch up, but that ends up taking more time than just going to class and actively participating in the first place. Though Covid-19 is one of the most talked-about reasons to miss class and other activities, it is not the only one. Here are some things to keep in mind as you develop your “Proactive what if I need to miss class” plan.

  • At the start of classes, find a study partner or group in each of your courses. If one of you needs to miss class, the others in your group can help keep you up to date. This is also a great way to meet other students and work together on challenging course material!
  • You can let your faculty know that you will be absent and when you expect you will be able to return. In some large classes, faculty may have a protocol or guidelines for missing class, so check the syllabus. (Tip: Don’t start your email with “Hey”, instead try “Dear Prof. <name>”. Also, don’t ask if you will be missing anything — you definitely are. Instead, let your faculty know that you are being proactive and will be in touch with a classmate about what you are missing and that you will go to office hours with questions.)
  • If you are well enough to do school work while you are out, do what you can to stay caught up on assignments. This includes virtually meeting with your study partner and going to Zoom office hours if they are available and questions come up.
  • When you return, go to office hours. Share what you’ve done to keep up with the material and ask questions on things you are confused about. Going to office hours is always a good idea! Here are some things to keep in mind about effectively using office hours.
  • Minimize your risk of getting sick. Although masks are not required they are effective at stopping the spread of airborne diseases like Covid. Wearing a mask will reduce your risk of getting sick, and if you don’t get sick, you can go to class.

Sometimes you might have an illness or other reason that you will need to miss more than just a few classes. If that is the case reach out to your advisor or college advising office for advice. If you are really sick, talk to CU Health or your Primary Care Provider!

What if your instructor can’t teach in-person and is offering the class via Zoom?

If your professor needs to move a class to zoom because they are not able to teach in-person, think about where you will be able to Zoom in. It’s not as easy as just “going on zoom”, especially if you have back-to-back classes.

  • Figure out where you can go. Is there a spot in a library or atrium? Do you have time to make it back to your room?
  • Make sure you have the equipment you need. Do you have a computer or tablet? Headphones or earbuds? Is there a strong enough wi-fi signal?
  • Think about how you will participate. Depending on where you are, you might not be able to talk loudly, but you can always use the chat to contribute!
  • Talk to your roommates in advance to develop a plan and set expectations about what you will do if you need to zoom from your room.