Posted July 8, 2020

Temple adopts a new, standardized attendance policy in response to COVID-19

The new policy relies on honesty, flexibility and academic integrity.


students staying six feet apart in class
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito
Students practice appropriate physical distancing during a chemistry lab by staying at least six feet apart.

To protect everyone’s health and safety and allow for proper physical distancing in classrooms and campus buildings, a mix of different types of course formats are being offered this fall. These formats include in-person classes; hybrid classes, which blend in-person and online learning; and fully online classes.

In addition to these changes to the manner in which courses are delivered, the university is adopting a standardized attendance policy in order to accommodate students who are ill or are required to isolate during the semester. This temporary universitywide policy relies on the honor and good faith of all university community members  

According to the new policy, when students are unable to attend class due to health concerns, they are asked to report the reason for their absence truthfully to their instructor. By the same token, instructors are asked to keep track of students’ attendance in their classes and to trust their students when they say they are ill or in self-quarantine.

Here’s how it will work.

Instructors will record attendance for each in-person and synchronous remote (a course that requires students to participate at a scheduled time) class using an online attendance system designated by the university. This will facilitate contact tracing if a student or instructor tests positive for COVID-19.

To protect the health and safety of their classmates, students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19—such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle pain, headache, chills, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell—should not attend in-person classes. The same holds true for those who have been in close contact with others who have symptoms, or who are engaging in self-quarantine at the direction of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health or their healthcare professional.

Students who miss a class or activity due to the above conditions will not be penalized for their absence and will not be asked to provide formal documentation from a healthcare provider.

Our hope is that students who are feeling ill will feel comfortable staying home to protect others. We don’t want the need for documentation to become an extra burden or to discourage students from self-isolating when they are experiencing symptoms.

If a student is unable to attend a class or course activity as described above, the student should take the following steps.

  • Notify instructors in advance of the absence or inability to participate, if possible.
  • Call Temple’s Student Health Services (215-204-7500). Proof of evaluation will be provided to the student.
  • Keep up with coursework, as much as possible.
  • Participate in class activities and submit assignments electronically, to the extent possible and as directed by the instructor.
  • Reach out to the instructor if illness will require late submission or other modifications to deadlines or work requirements.
  • Work with their instructors to reschedule exams, labs and other critical academic activities, when it is necessary.

If remaining in a class and fulfilling the necessary requirements becomes impossible due to illness or other COVID-related circumstances, students should discuss other options with their instructor.

For more details, consult the COVID-19 Course Attendance and Engagement Protocol on TUportal.