When students are absent due to a crisis situation or unexpected illness
and unable to contact their individual instructors directly, the Dean of
Students Office can send out an Emergency Notification.
What is an Emergency Notification?
- An e-mail notification from the Dean of Students Office to a
student's faculty members and academic advisers. A copy of this
message is sent to the student, as well.
- An announcement that an emergency situation (their own
hospitalization, assault, accident, death in the family, etc.) prevents students from
contacting instructors directly and may also prevent
them from fulfilling their academic responsibilities.
- A source of information so faculty can anticipate the absence and,
sometimes, can know when to expect the student to return to class.
- A written reminder that students should work directly with
instructors to determine how to complete any missed course work during
Each instructor has the authority to make
decisions about students' absences and how the absence will affect
students' grades. The Dean of Students staff encourage faculty to keep
in mind that students who utilize the emergency notification service
are typically recovering from a crisis and would benefit from
How to initiate an Emergency Notification
Contact the Dean of Students by phone at 515-294-1020 or by e-mail
email@example.com. Be prepared
to provide a detailed description of the emergency circumstances, as
well as a reasonable explanation as to why the student is unable to
contact their instructors directly. If posssible, please include the
length of time the student will be absent from classes.
When the student returns to the University
- The staff in Student Assistance typically contacts students after
the emergency notification process to offer support and assistance as
students resume their academic responsibilities. Knowing each student's
situation helps us provide the immediate help needed and to be better
prepared when the student is able to return to class.
- Instructors may also contact the student directly to discuss the
student's responsibility for completing missed course work, as well as
any documentation required when the student returns.
- Because the staff in the Dean of Students Office does not
investigate prior to sending out an Emergency Notification, students
should be prepared to provide documentation verifying the reasons for
their absence when requested by instructors.
Emergency Notification Guidelines
- An Emergency Notification is NOT appropriate for
non-emergency situations (e.g. car problems, planned absences, minor
illnesses, or a past absence).
- An Emergency Notification is NOT a request or
mandate to excuse an absence. (This decision is the sole responsibility
of the instructor to determine.)
- An Emergency notification is NOT a requirement for
students. If a student contacts instructors about an emergency
situation directly, it is not necessary to involve the Dean of Students
Office as you arrange to resolve the absence. Instructors are always
welcome to share information with the Dean of Students staff about any
- An Emergency Notification is NOT verification that
the information the student has provided is true. (Documentation should
be provided by the student upon request.)
Please note: the Dean of Students Office staff does not investigate
when students request an Emergency Notification. We do ask for enough
details from students to assess the situation and offer advice about
what should be done to make their transition back to class easier.
However, we do not contact hospitals, doctors, police, family members,
etc. to assess the validity of an absence prior to sending out an
Emergency Notification. We inform students that it is
their responsibility to have appropriate documentation available when
their instructors request it.