Guidance on Fall 2023 Class Attendance, Withdrawal and Grading

In recognition of unique circumstances for faculty members and students alike during the fall 2023 semester, the following guidance is provided regarding class attendance and withdrawal for undergraduate students along with graduate students in Graduate School and Graduate School of Management programs.  Faculty and students in Law School, School of Dentistry and Health Sciences Professional programs will follow policies and guidance provided by those schools.


Class Attendance Guidance

Class Withdrawal Policies

Faculty Grading Guidance


Class Attendance Guidance

The current attendance policies in the undergraduate bulletin and graduate bulletin do not recognize illness as an excused absence.  At the same time, Marquette University is requiring students not to attend class if symptomatic and requiring that students who test positive for COVID-19 follow isolation guidelines. In alignment with the CDC’s latest guidance, individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 are no longer required to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. The university advises anyone, regardless of vaccination status, who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home, complete the COVID Cheq Symptom Screener, self-isolate and get tested.

Instead of expanding the categories of excused absence to include illness, which would impose excessive burdens on isolating students to obtain documentation and add pressure on the health care system, the university is providing the following guidance to create a flexible and compassionate response to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.


1.  Instructors are expected to provide opportunities for students who miss classes due to symptoms, COVID-19 diagnosis, and/or isolation to make up graded in-class assignments.  Labs, clinicals and other field-based classes are the exceptions to this because it may be impossible to make up classwork in these types of classes.

  • Students are responsible for contacting instructors prior to the missed class session to indicate absence and the need to make up classwork/assignments.  Students requesting make up classwork/assignments are required to provide the COVID Cheq "stop sign" to confirm inability to attend class.
  • If a student is forced to be absent for an extended period of time (generally more than two weeks) and is unable to complete assignments, instructors should explore all reasonable alternatives to engagement before discussing withdrawal from the course or a grade of incomplete.

2.  If any portion of the course grade is based on attendance, exceptions should be made to allow students who are required to miss class for a COVID Cheq “stop sign” to avoid penalty. Students are expected to communicate proactively with their instructors about such COVID-related absences in order to request such an exception. When evaluating participation and engagement, faculty should design assessments that would allow ill/quarantined students to demonstrate participation/engagement regardless of modality.

  • Some clinical, laboratory, and other field-based classes have contact-hour requirements that must be fulfilled.  It may be impossible to make up missed class sessions per accreditation or other external guidelines.

3.  Syllabi should indicate expectations for students who may be absent due to symptoms and/or COVID-19 diagnosis.  The Center for Teaching and Learning has developed COVID-19 language for syllabi.  Based on the circumstances of students, the following guidance is provided:

  • Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and in isolation:  student must not attend class, but is expected to participate in all assignments to the extent possible based on severity of symptoms.  Students are expected to inform instructor of isolation dates and to communicate regularly about their ability to participate during that time.  Medical documentation is NOT required for return to the classroom but may be required for return to some clinical sites.  Students are to contact Office of Disability Services in the event they are not able to participate in coursework due to COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 to explore if a reasonable accommodation can be afforded.
  • Symptomatic in isolation and needs testing or awaiting results:  student must not attend class, but is expected to participate in all assignments to the extent possible based on severity of symptoms and seek out COVID-19 test through the Marquette University Medical Clinic.  Same guidance as above for documentation and accommodation.  
  • Confirmed COVID-19 exposure:  Student may attend class but is expected wear a mask for 10 days, get tested on day 5 and monitor for symptoms. Please note the Marquette Medical Clinic no longer offers testing for close contact/exposure. However, should symptoms develop students should seek out COVID-19 testing through the Marquette University Medical Clinic.
  • For all isolation:  Student is expected to contact the instructor to indicate student's inability to participate in face-to-face experiences.

4. Consider flexible options for students seeking to withdraw after the deadline, depending on the circumstances and academic program:

  • For student-initiated withdrawal: with approval of the college dean's office, a grade of W may be assigned for student-initiated withdrawals through the last day of class for the semester due to needs related to COVID-19.  For full consideration, students need to comply with the communication and documentation points outlined in point 3 above.
  • For faculty-initiated withdrawals: at the discretion of the faculty and/or college, a grade of WA may be assigned for withdrawals initiated by the faculty and/or college beyond the withdrawal deadline regardless of the student's academic performance in the class at the point of withdrawal.


Medical Excuses

Consistent with the current attendance policy and medical excuse policy, the Marquette University Medical Clinic does not provide medical excuses for short-term absences that result in missed classes, exams, or assignments due to illness or injury.  Requiring medical excuses places an additional burden on healthcare systems and diverts resources from patient care.  Isolation does not require formal certification by healthcare provider.


Time in isolation is variable. The standard isolation period is 10 days. The isolation period can be shortened to 5 days if one is asymptomatic or symptoms are improving and no fever for 24 hours.  If these criteria are met, one can return to campus and class on day 6 or later.  A well-fitted mask must be worn when around others through day 10.  (Note: first day of symptoms is day zero) 

Please note additional isolation guidance:

  • If one has moderate illness (shortness of breath or trouble breathing) or severe illness (hospitalized), or one is immunocompromised,  isolation should be for full 10 days.
  • If isolation ended, but COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen, isolation should restart from day 0.

Those who are sick may not be able to keep up depending on their level of sickness


Class Withdrawal Policies

In acknowledgement that circumstances may arise during the Fall 2023 semester that require a student to withdraw from a class at various points during the term, the following flexibility on the use of withdrawal grades for undergraduate and graduate students has been approved:

  • Students who initiate a request to withdraw from a class after the withdrawal deadline through the last day of class may receive a grade of W, as opposed to WF, with approval of their college dean's office if the reason for withdrawal is due to needs related to COVID-19.  For full consideration, students need to comply with the communication and documentation points outlined in the guidance above.
  • When an instructor or college office initiates a student withdrawal after the withdrawal deadline for reasons of excessive absence, a grade of WA may be used, rather than a WF, regardless of student performance at the time of withdrawal.

The updated polices on grading of class withdrawals can be found in the undergraduate bulletin and graduate bulletin.


Faculty Grading Guidance 

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A-F Grades

  • Definition:  Letter grades are used by Marquette faculty to evaluate students' performance in a course.  Each grade (A through F) earned in a course carries a specified number of grade points.
  • Usage:  Faculty determination based on academic performance at the end of the class (or Incomplete period).
  • Fall 2023 Reminders:  The grading deadline for regular session classes is 12/19/2023 at noon.  There is no option for students to change their grade to pass/not pass in Fall 2023.

Incomplete Grade

  • Definition:  An Incomplete must be initiated by students and approved by the instructor prior to the end of the session in which the class is offered.  Assigned only when a documented circumstance beyond the control of the student arises. The performance in the course must merit this exception, otherwise, the instructor must assign a grade that reflects both the quality of the work completed and the significance of the work/exam that is completed.
  • Usage:  Based on student's request and agreement to complete all missing work no later than the Incomplete deadline stipulated in the academic calendar and faculty determination that additional time beyond the end of the semester will allow for the successful completion of the class material and awarding of A-F grade.  When possible, the requirements to fulfill the Incomplete should be designed so that students can do so prior to the start of the spring term classes.
  • Fall 2023 Reminders:  The final deadline for students to complete all class material in Fall 2023 is 2/16/2024, although faculty may require an earlier deadline, such as the start of spring term classes.

Withdrawal Grades (WA or WF)

  • Definition:  Withdrawal initiated by the faculty or college office due to students' excessive absences in the course, as outlined in the syllabus or the university Attendance Policy in the bulletin.  Withdrawal that leads to a WA grade is equivalent to the W grade in that it is not counted toward the student’s GPA.  Withdrawal that leads to a WF grade is counted toward the student’s GPA in an equivalent manner to the F grade. 
  • Usage:  Based on faculty or college office determination that the student has missed too much of the class to be successful, consistent with the attendance policy, or the student has abandoned the class.  Prior to withdrawal deadline the WA grade is always assigned.  After the withdrawal deadline either the WA grade or the WF grade may be assigned, depending on the student’s performance in the class at the time of withdrawal. 
  • Fall 2023 Reminders:  The withdrawal deadline for full-term classes in Fall 2023 is 11/17/2023.  Consideration should be given to student participation and engagement when determining if withdrawal is appropriate.  Flexibility is being allowed in Fall 2023 for faculty and/or colleges to assign a grade of WA after the withdrawal deadline regardless of student academic performance in the class at the time of withdrawal.