Navigating college classes can be difficult enough on its own, but the current COVID-19 pandemic and other stressful situations can make the process even more challenging. Take a look through this quick FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to make absence reporting as painless as possible.

Q: I tested positive for COVID-19. How do I get an official excused absence notification? 

A: Email the Dean of Students Office the letter that outlines your quarantine/isolation dates. If you tested on campus, Student Health Services will place this letter in your secure health portal. If you tested off-campus, please upload your test results to your health portal, wait for Student Health Services to review your results, then check your health portal for a letter that includes your isolation/quarantine dates. Email this letter to

Q: How will an excused absence notification help me academically?

A: Your instructors will provide reasonable modifications/extensions for completing missed exams, quizzes, and other required work. In courses that allow dropping a low grade or grades, your instructor must offer you reasonable modifications/extensions for making up work missed and may not require that missed work be counted as the low grade to be dropped.

Q: Someone close to me tested positive for COVID-19, and I am required to quarantine. Is this still an excused absence?

A: Yes, if you are required to quarantine based on the directive of a public health official or health provider for a reason related to a communicable disease, the absence from class will be considered excused once the Dean of Students Office receives written documentation of that directive. If you don’t have documentation or don’t know if you need to quarantine, contact the Student Health Services Nurse Consult at (309) 438-7676. You are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 if someone close to you receives a positive test result. 

Q: Do I need to report my non COVID-related absence(s) to the Dean of Students Office?

A: No, you are not required to report medical, illness, or family emergency absences to the Dean of Students Office. Only absences due to bereavement, active military duty/obligations, or required isolation/quarantine are excused by university policy. The Dean of Students Office can send a courtesy notice to your instructors to inform them of these types of absence, although your course absence policies/instructors will determine whether you are excused.  

Q: There was a death in my family. Can I be excused from classes?

A: Yes, students are eligible for up to five consecutive days (not including weekends or holidays) of excused absence in the event of a death of a family member. The student is responsible for notifying the Dean of Students Office prior to their absence and providing some form of documentation after. The Dean of Students Office will communicate the absence and bereavement policy to your course instructors. 

In summary, the Dean of Students Office can send excused absence notifications for students who send their quarantine/isolation date letters to Students can also be excused for bereavement for a death in the family.

Learn more about Illinois State University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at