Of sickness and sick notes – and other absences

It’s that time of year where sports injuries and infectious diseases set in with a vengeance. Job interviews and family weddings (and troubles) also become more common. All this generates student emails offering doctors notes, excused absence paperwork etc. This is my generic response to emails about absences.

As discussed in the syllabus (p. 6, Attendance, Missed Classes and Missed Assessment), I don’t need any paperwork. The course is set up so that life events won’t cause problems for engaged students (i.e. regular attenders, those who take the tests, and frequent bloggers). Thus, I take the best two of four class tests, the best of three blog periods, and for attendance, presence at nine of 12 pop quizzes. The final exam is even live for six whole days and can be taken anywhere in the world. So bad luck can strike (indeed several times) and all is still fine. Of course, for disengaged students, it can be a train smash if things go wrong at the end. When that happens, I feel for the students and wish they had been engaged earlier.

The only paperwork I might need is for situations like chronic illness which keeps students from working for several weeks or more. Those cases get really tricky, but are fortunately super rare.

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