September 3 Employee Memo

Details around a gentle approach to student absence this fall for faculty and staff.

Dear faculty and staff,

Happy Friday everyone.  Congratulations on completing your first week of classes.  As we move into the fall semester, I request that you consider a gentle approach to student absence this fall as we acclimate to our return to campus.

There are two primary reasons for permitting an excused absence.  The first reason is an unexpected absence due to illness or possible exposure to COVID.  Regarding COVID exposure, students may be placed in quarantine if they are a close contact or they may be in isolation if they are symptomatic and awaiting test results. Further information about MICA’s approach to COVID exposure is here.  Students will be asked to communicate directly with their faculty in these cases.

The second reason to allow an excused absence relates to MICA’s support for students to observe religious holidays.

As a nonsectarian institution, MICA includes certain legal and national holidays in the Academic Calendar. Historically, however, and as a matter of long-standing institutional practice, MICA has worked to support students of any religious group who wish to observe significant dates related to their faith. While individual faculty maintain the ultimate authority within their classroom regarding absences, faculty are encouraged to provide students the space and time to miss classes without penalty when those absences are for recognized religious obligations. In such cases, students should inform the faculty member in advance of their absence, and at the faculty member’s discretion, an alternate or make-up assignment can be assigned.

If you have any questions or concerns about this recommended gentle approach to student absence this fall, please contact me directly, or speak to your Vice Provost.

Sincerely, Tiffany