Attendance

General Requirement

The American Bar Association Standard 308 mandates that the law school require regular class attendance. UW Law administration and faculty expect in-person class attendance.

  1. At any time after the fifth week of a course (halfway through a summer session course), a student who has been determined by the instructor to have attended fewer than 80 percent of the class sessions in any course may be required to drop the course from his or her registration upon the instructor’s so indicating to the Office of Academic Services.
  2. An instructor may also impose stricter attendance standards or other sanctions for nonattendance, including lowering of a grade, so long as students are informed at the start of the course of the instructor’s attendance rules and possible sanctions.
  3. The instructor referred to in paragraph 1 should take attendance with such regularity as is needed to ensure reasonable accuracy in determining a student’s attendance record.

Ongoing Virtual Attendance in In-Person Courses

Under ABA Standard 306(c), students may not receive attendance credit for participation in an in-person course via a distance learning platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams unless they are granted permission to do so as a necessary qualification for a disability or an exception for extraordinary extenuating circumstances.

Students who require ongoing remote attendance disability accommodations or wish to request an exception must contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Individual instructors are not authorized to approve ongoing remote attendance accommodations or make exceptions to UW Law’s in-person attendance requirements.

Students who are unable to attend a particular class session (because of temporary illness, for example) and are not eligible for an accommodation or exception, should consult with their professors about how to catch up on information from a missed class.

Religious Accommodation Policy

It is the policy of the University of Washington to reasonably accommodate students’ religious observances in accordance with RCW 28B.137.010.

The law requires that educational institutions must develop policies to accommodate student absences to allow students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, so that students’ grades are not adversely impacted by the absences. The law also requires that UW post information about its policy on its website, and that faculty include the policy or a link to the policy in course or program syllabi.

Faculty must reasonably accommodate students who, due to the observance of religious holidays, expect to be absent or endure a significant hardship during certain days of the course or program. “Reasonably accommodate” is defined as coordinating with the student on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for completion of the program and includes rescheduling examinations or activities or offering different times for examinations or activities.

Any student seeking reasonable accommodations may contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Alternatively, students may provide written notice through the Office of the University Registrar Religious Accommodations request process within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course, of the specific dates of absence due to religious accommodation.

Religious Holidays

A number of religious groups have holidays during orientation and the regular academic year. Examples include the following:

  1. Ramadan (Islamic): (during FLS)
  2. Yom Kippur (Jewish)
  3. Birth of the Báb (Bahá'í): (during autumn quarter)
  4. Christmas (Orthodox Christian): (1st week of winter quarter)
  5. Good Friday (Christian): (1st week of spring quarter)

For Washington’s holiday and observance calendar, please review the Washington State Council of Presidents Holiday and Observance Calendar.

Given the large number of religions and the large number of holidays practiced by each religion, the need to comply with ABA guidelines regarding minimum contact minutes, and the need to provide a reading period at the end of each quarter, we do not close the law school or alter the academic calendar for religious holidays. As a reminder, the law school always starts Autumn classes two days prior to the rest of the University in order to ensure that we satisfy ABA guidelines and provide a reading period at the end of each quarter.

Given that many religious holidays fall during the first week of Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, however, we do not permit students to be dropped from courses for failing to attend class as a result of a religious holiday.

Faculty members have the flexibility to cancel or re-schedule classes for various reasons, including to personally observe religious holidays. The only constraint is that they must make sure that they still hold the minimum number of class sessions necessary to comply with ABA standards (500 minutes for each credit hour). In some (but not all) cases, missing a class session or two will not put you below the ABA minimum.

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