Updated Guidance on Spring 2024 Class Attendance, Withdrawal and Grading

In recognition of unique circumstances for faculty members and students alike during the spring 2024 semester, the following updated 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 recommending students not attend class if symptomatic and those who test positive for COVID-19 follow updated CDC guidance for respiratory illnesses. 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 who are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19.

1. Instructors are expected to provide opportunities for students who miss classes due to COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis 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 the absence and the need to make up classwork/assignments.  Students are reminded of the expectations established in the Academic Integrity policy when reporting symptoms or diagnosis of COVID-19.  COVID Cheq is no longer in use.
  • If a student is forced to be absent for an extended period (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.  No portion of a grade should be based strictly on attendance.  Instead, assignments should be based on participation and engagement, and faculty should design assessments that would allow ill 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 or COVID-19 diagnosis.

  • Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis:  student should 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 illness 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.
  • Symptomatic and needs testing or awaiting results:  student should not attend class, but is expected to participate in all assignments to the extent possible based on severity of symptoms and seek out a COVID-19 test through the Marquette University Medical Clinic.  Same guidance as above for documentation and accommodation. 
  • 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.


In accordance with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Marquette University will no longer require a five-day isolation period for students, faculty or staff who test positive for COVID-19.  Exceptions remain for those who work in health care settings

Individuals who test postive or have symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses should stay home and away from others until symptoms are improving and no fever is present for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. The COVID Cheq/COVID symptom screener is no longer in use.  

Once returning to normal activities, it is advised to continue taking additional precautions for the next five days to decrease the spread of illness.   

This includes:  

  • Practicing good hygiene by covering your coughs and sneezes, washing or sanitizing your hands often, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces
  • Wearing a well-fitted mask 
  • Distancing from others 
  • Getting tested for respiratory illnesses and seeking treatment especially if you are at high risk for severe illness 
  • Take additional precautions to protect those at higher risk for severe illnesses  


Class Withdrawal Policies

In acknowledgement that circumstances may arise during the Spring 2024 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).
  • Spring 2024 Reminders:  The grading deadline for regular session classes is 05/14/2024 at noon.  There is no option for students to change their grade to pass/not pass in Spring 2024.

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.
  • Spring 2024 Reminders:  The final deadline for students to complete all class material in Spring 2024 is 10/04/2024, 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. 
  • Spring 2024 Reminders:  The withdrawal deadline for full-term classes in Spring 2024 is 04/12/2024.  Consideration should be given to student participation and engagement when determining if withdrawal is appropriate.  Flexibility is being allowed in Spring 2024 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.