Online Class Absence Form for Flu-Like Illness

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Students across the country were encouraged to stay home and out of classes if they became ill with influenza. The University of Iowa already had an online form ("Explanatory Statement for Absence from Class") that asks for, among other things, information on whether a student visited a doctor and whether someone can vouch for the fact the student was ill.

With the advent of the pandemic, the University of Iowa developed a second online form, this one for students ill with influenza-like illness (ILI). The form allows students to communicate with instructors about their class absences due to ILI. The form requires less information than the usual form. It requires students to identify which dates they experienced ILI and provide any additional relevant details. They then have to vouch for the accuracy of the information by signing the form.

The University of Iowa Class Absence Form for Flu-Like Illness was easy to use and contained the pertinent information the student needed to convey. When ill, a student may not know what to say, or how to say it. This form was clear and did not require any additional supporting documentation to support it, such as a note from a healthcare provider.

The university encouraged support for this policy change by sending a letter to instructors about changing the excused absence policy. Students' grades were not to be affected if they followed the recommendation from the University Health Service to remain out of class while ill and notify their instructors. Students were responsible for the entire semester's material and any missed work.

Feedback from faculty characterized the university's H1N1 policy as reasonable and the online form as a useful initiative.

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