For Students

Instructor Notification of Student Absence

If a student knows they will be absent from class, or unable to complete coursework the students should email, and/or speak with their faculty as soon as possible.

When the student is unable to contact instructors directly due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical emergency, psychological emergency, and/or an unforeseen personal hardship), the Office of the Dean of Students can send instructor notifications.

An instructor notification informs faculty of the unexpected absence due to the emergency preventing them from contacting them directly and the student’s ability to fulfill their academic responsibilities. 

In some instances, instructor notifications can inform faculty when to expect the student to return to class. Students are expected to work directly with instructors to determine if it's possible to complete missed coursework during an absence. Lastly, each instructor has the authority to make decisions about a student’s absences and the subsequent impact on the students’ grades.

Requesting an Instructor Notification

Contact the Office of the Dean of Students at or  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. This includes providing medical and/or personal documentation to share with the Office of Dean of Students.

Absences related to COVID-19

The Office of the Dean of Students is unable to require faculty to excuse absences or grant make-up work, and because faculty are not required to teach a course in more than one format (i.e., both classroom-based and online at the same time), you may not be provided an alternative version of a missed lesson or class activity during a COVID-related absence. However, faculty will do their best to try and accommodate your requests to make up missed work in the event of a COVID-related illness. Be reminded, as well, that the Writing and Learning Center offers free tutoring should you find yourself struggling with course materials, and the Disability Resource Center (DRC) is also available to support you in the event of an extended-length absence.

Wellness Checks

Occasionally a parent, friend, colleague or instructor who is concerned about a student's well-being asks the Office of the Dean of Student to look into the welfare of a student. If you have reason to be concerned about the imminent health and safety of a student, please call the appropriate police department:

University Police Department (on-campus students)

(805) 756-2281

San Luis Obispo Police Department (off-campus students)

(805) 783-7867

The Office of the Dean of Students can attempt to contact the student via their University email address, and/or contact the student by phone.  The Office of the Dean of Students will use its discretion to determine appropriate outreach to the student. 

Please recognize our responsibility for student privacy and understand we will use our discretion to appropriately contact the student. If you have questions, please contact us at or and we will determine the best course of action given the circumstances.

FERPA Release Form

Important note to discuss with your parents/family: Once you have moved into postsecondary education, regardless of your age, all rights belong to you. To avoid any misunderstandings, you are strongly encouraged to discuss this with your family before beginning classes.

To release information protected by FERPA, you may complete a FERPA Release Form, where you may notify the Office of the Dean of Students of whom we can speak with and about what topics.  

The FERPA Release Form gives your parents, guardians, and/or other supporters permission to speak with the Office of the Dean of Students about your educational records. Please fill out the form, provide a copy of your ID, and return to if applicable. 

If you'd like to sign this document online via Adobe Sign, please click here.

Financial Resources for Emergency Needs

The Office of the Dean of Students provides oversight to the Cal Poly Cares emergency grant which provides limited financial assistance to currently enrolled Cal Poly students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation. The grant is designated to offset a short-term financial need and is not intended to replace or supplement financial aid.

For additional support, please contact:

Office of the Dean of Students- Student Support, Success, and Retention

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