Course Attendance Policy & Guideline for Absences

Course Attendance

Each instructor shall, in writing, at the beginning of each semester or Short Term, make clear to the students in the course the expectations regarding attendance and nonattendance at classes and laboratories. 

It is the responsibility of each instructor to outline their expectations regarding attendance at the start of each semester on the course syllabus so that each enrolled student can make an informed choice regarding the continued enrollment in the course.

A student’s participation in the work of a course is a precondition for receiving credit for the course. Students registering late or who miss class are expected to make up all missed assignments in a manner determined by the instructor.

Field Trips

The Bates College Faculty Handbook outlines expectations regarding field trips:

Whenever class trips entail absences from other classes, the instructor must secure advance approval from the department or program chair. A list of all students involved, and a list of all courses they will individually miss as a result of the field trips, must accompany the request. Faculty requesting that students miss a class of another faculty member are asked to inform that faculty member of the request. Students may not be required to go on field trips if they involve absences from classes in which examinations are scheduled.

Class Absences

Students should consult with their instructors about all class absences.

It is the responsibility of the student to:

  • Notify the instructor immediately about class absences
  • Discuss any missed class time, tests, or assignments

It is the responsibility of the instructor to:

  • Communicate clearly to the student the likely consequences of any class absence
  • What would need to be done to make up any work missed
  • Inform the student if they are in danger of failing the course because of the amount of work or class time to be missed. A course deferral or a withdrawal from the course may be pursued, if needed, and if permitted under the appropriate policies

With the approval of the instructor, the Office of Accessible Education will work with students to proctor missed exams for the types of absences described below. These types of absences include those related to NCAA athletic competitions, illness, severe medical or psychological issues, personal emergencies, and debate competitions. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the exam with the Office of Accessible Education, following the guidelines found on their website.

For absences that fall outside of these categories, arrangements must be made directly between the student and instructor to make up the exam. Please note that this includes students who are eligible for exam accommodations. If an instructor allows a student to miss an exam for a reason not identified below, they will not be able to sit for the exam in the Office of Accessible Education. In this instance it is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that the student receives their approved accommodation(s) when making arrangements for them to take the exam.

Understanding that responsibilities ultimately lie with the student and instructor, the college seeks to support students and faculty in their academic pursuits by providing confirmation in the following circumstances:

Scheduled & Planned Absences:

It is the student’s responsibility to discuss planned absences with their course instructors at the start of the semester and before each absence.

Unplanned Absences & Emergencies:

It is the student’s responsibility to discuss any unplanned absence with their course instructors as soon as possible once they are aware they will be missing class.


Students who are temporarily unable to attend class due to illness, including those recovering from COVID-19, are expected to work with their professors to determine how best to meet their academic commitments. Faculty determine the best way for the student to make up any missed classes. Faculty are not obligated to offer Zoom/hybrid participation for an ill student, though they are welcome to offer that if they wish. In some courses, professors may require that they be officially notified for unplanned illness-related absences, when these absences occur during class sessions that involve specific course requirements, e.g., laboratories, presentations, performances, or exams. Such a requirement should be stated on the course syllabus. If a student is absent from these classes because of illness and the professor requires notification, then students may seek that notice from Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services. The student, in consultation with the professor, is responsible for addressing missed work.

Please note that moving the entire class to a Zoom or online format is not a viable solution when multiple students are absent as it forces other students to sacrifice their in-person experience.

Severe medical or psychological issues typically requiring hospitalization: The Director of Counseling & Psychological Services or the Student Health Support and Outreach Specialist will notify a student’s instructors in order to confirm the situation. For concussions, Sports Medicine or the Student Health Support and Outreach Specialist will notify a student’s instructors in order to confirm the situation.

Personal Emergencies (such as a death in the family): The Dean of Students Office will notify a student’s instructors in order to confirm the situation. Please contact Faith Hauger at 207-786-6220 or to request a notification for a personal emergency.

Debate: Because participation in a debate tournament is not determined until close to the time of the tournament, it is not possible to provide faculty with a schedule of which debaters will be participating in which tournaments at the start of the semester. At least 24 hours prior to scheduled debate tournaments that require student debaters to leave campus while classes are scheduled, the faculty will be informed of any of their students participating in the tournament, where and when the tournament is being held, and when the students must depart and return to campus.

Students who are uncertain about whether they will earn a place on a varsity or debate team should also be proactive about discussing possible absences related to athletic or debate competition.

Varsity Athletics: Varsity athletes may notify faculty of additional absences mid-semester that cannot be planned at the start of the season, for example in cases where a team or individual makes a playoff or when contests need to be re-scheduled due to weather. In these cases the Department of Physical Education and Athletics will notify the faculty and the student will speak to the individual instructor as soon as the additional time is scheduled.

A Note about Religious Holidays

In recognition of Bates’ commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body and the variety of religions observed and practiced by our students, faculty are encouraged to consult the Multifaith Calendar posted online by the Office of the Multifaith Chaplain when developing course syllabi so that conflicts between in class examinations and major religious holidays may be avoided. Given the range of faiths embraced by our students, it may not be possible to avoid all conflicts between scheduled examinations and religious holidays. Students are expected to approach the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester if there is a conflict with a scheduled examination, paper, or project due date and a significant religious holiday observed by the student so that, when warranted, alternative arrangements for completing the work may be made.

Policy for Making Up Exams

With the permission from the instructor, students may arrange to take makeup exams with the Office of Accessible Education if the exam was missed due to NCAA athletic competitions, illness, severe medical or psychological issues, personal emergencies, and/or debate competitions. Please take note that Accessible Education is not able to administer exams for instances outside of these. For absences that fall outside of these categories, arrangements must be made directly between the student and instructor to make up the exam.

In order to take an exam with Accessible Education, please review the following policies::

  • For scheduled and planned absences (Varsity Athletics or Debate) you must schedule your exam with Accessible Education a minimum of 48 hours/two business days in advance.
  • For unplanned absences and emergencies, we will do our best to accommodate you on short notice, but please let us know as soon as possible so we can guarantee that there is space available for you in our testing locations.
  • Under no circumstance are we able to administer an exam on the same day in which it is scheduled. Exams will always be scheduled, at minimum, for the next business day. For example, if a student contacts us on Tuesday at 2pm, the next earliest time the student will be able to sit for the exam is Wednesday at 8am.
  • The Office of Accessible Education is open Monday through Friday from 8am-4:30pm. We are not able to administer exams outside of this time frame. We will do our best to accommodate students during the day and time they have requested (and which have been approved by the professor) however, it is dependent on space availability. This is another reason to schedule as early as possible.

To Schedule an Exam:

  1. Complete a Makeup Exam Request Form
  2. You may contact Accessible Education with any questions.
    1. Email:
    2. Phone: (207)786-6222
    3. Coming to Ladd Library, room G35
  3. Communicate with your instructor to ensure they send the exam to our office before your scheduled start time.
  4. Review the guidelines for taking an exam with Accessible Education
  5. Come to Ladd Library, room G35 at your scheduled time to take your exam. Please note that exam times are not extended if students arrive late (meaning you will only be given the remainder of your allotted time to complete the exam).
  6. Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Accessible Education at any point if you are unsure about the process or have questions.