Student Life Office

Emergency Absence Frequently Asked Questions

When is an emergency absence appropriate?

An emergency absence is appropriate when unexpected circumstances arise that necessitate a brief (no more than two weeks) absence from the College. 

Examples of situations a dean in Student Life would grant an Emergency Absence and notify faculty of a student’s absence from class:
  • Hospitalization or intensive medical care
  • Death or critical illness in the family
  • Life-threatening issues
  • Title IX or DHSM-related issues, such as interpersonal violence or stalking
  • Home fire or natural disaster
  • Crime victimization
  • Recommendation from the Health and Counseling Center or program director of SHARE
The following examples are not considered emergencies, and related absences should be addressed by the student directly with their instructors:
  • Doctor's appointments
  • Academic stress or overwhelming workload
  • Minor short-term illness (e.g. cold, flu, sore throat)
  • Allergies
  • Mononucleosis
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Injuries that do not require hospitalization
  • Roommate or relationship conflicts
  • Weddings
  • Job or graduate school interviews

Students who are experiencing one of the non-emergency situations above are encouraged to reach out to the Student Life Office, Health and Counseling Services, Residence Life, faculty adviser and instructors, or other relevant campus resources for support.

How long may I take an emergency absence?

At the time of the student’s request, the student and the dean in Student Life will discuss and determine an appropriate length of time away. The length of time will be determined by considering the circumstances of the emergency and the ability for the student to return successfully to the classroom following an extended absence. Missing class for one or two weeks may have serious academic implications, even when the instructor supports the student’s emergency absence.

Can I extend my emergency absence status?

An emergency absence may be extended with approval from a dean for an absence no longer than 2 weeks total. Should a student need more time away, they may take a leave of absence, request a medical leave of absence, or pursue other administrative options.

If I am not approved for an emergency absence, what should I do?

There are a number of alternative options for managing a hardship that does not qualify for an emergency absence. Any student experiencing a hardship is encouraged to contact the Student Life Office to discuss relevant resources and possible resolutions.

Students who are experiencing non-life threatening illnesses or injuries that directly impact the student’s ability to engage in academic activities may consult with staff at the Health and Counseling Center to determine if a health status update is appropriate. A health status update will only be sent to faculty when a medical or counseling provider has specific clinical recommendations that directly impacts or limits the student’s ability to participate in academic activities.

If you have a documented disability, are experiencing a chronic medical or mental health condition, or have a temporary debilitating injury or condition, you may be eligible for additional support and/or accommodations through Reed’s Disability & Accessibility Resources (DAR). Please refer to the DAR website or contact Theresa Lowrie ( or 503/517-7921) for more information about services offered and to learn more about the accommodations process at Reed.

For all other injuries or illnesses, it is the responsibility of the student to communicate with the instructor and make up any missed work.

Academic Impact

Are my professors notified that I am on emergency absence?

Yes. The Student Life Office sends an email to each instructor listed on the student’s current schedule as well as to Financial Aid, the Business Office, the Registrar, campus employers (if relevant), and Residence Life (if the student lives on-campus). This email notifies the professors and staff that the student is currently taking an emergency absence, and when the student anticipates returning.

Students should be aware that the role of the Student Life Office in connecting with faculty is informational only. It will be at the professor's discretion to excuse absences or class work, even with an absence notification from the Student Life Office.

What are my responsibilities regarding my classes?

Communicating with professors as much as possible is essential for creating realistic expectations regarding the student’s ability to make up missed classes, exams, or assignments. Students should consult with each of their professors and their academic adviser for more information regarding what is required upon returning from an absence, and what the implications of such an absence are with regard to their courses. The instructor of each course will determine whether it is possible for the student to complete the course after returning to classes.

Can I still attend some classes while I am on an emergency absence?

No. Because emergency absences are only approved for serious circumstances, a student on an emergency absence is expected to be absent from all classes during the length of their absence.

If I’m an international student, what do I need to know about visas, immigration documents, or other matters?

International students should speak with the program director for International Student Services to discuss their visa program status, departure to (and return from) their home country, and other considerations if taking an emergency absence.

What can I do if I cannot pass all of my classes after returning from my absence?

Students who can complete some but not all of their semester classes may petition the Administration Committee for a withdrawal from those classes they cannot complete. If the emergency occurs at the end of the semester and the student is in good standing in the course at the time of their absence, the student may consider requesting an Incomplete in addition to or instead of an emergency absence. Students should discuss these options with their instructors and/or faculty advisor.

Access to Campus Services

May I stay in on-campus housing during my emergency absence?

Yes. Students on emergency absence may stay in their room on campus while the residence halls are open. Students who remain in the residence halls while on an emergency absence are still subject to the expectations of their housing contract.

What if I need different accommodations on campus during or after my emergency absence?

Students who need different housing accommodations for a temporary period of time on campus may request use of an on-campus emergency room. Examples of appropriate uses of the temporary emergency room include: Students who have been injured and are now using crutches or a wheelchair and are therefore having difficulties accessing their assigned residence hall room, or students who feel unsafe in their current housing situation and need a temporary place to reside until the issue is resolved. A student may request use of an emergency room regardless if they are approved or not approved for an emergency absence. 

Requests for both use of the temporary room or permanent relocation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis depending on availability. To inquire about the possible use of an emergency room or permanent space on-campus, please contact Residence Life at

May I still access campus services while on an emergency absence?

Yes. Students on an emergency absence are still considered enrolled with the college and as such retain access to campus facilities and services including the Sports Center, health and counseling services, campus events, and library borrowing privileges.

Am I permitted to work on-campus during my emergency absence?

Working while on an emergency absence is typically discouraged. Students requesting an emergency absence should speak with a dean about their plans for working during their absence.


You are also encouraged to contact the Student Life Office or any of the offices below if you have questions.

Contact information

Student Life Office: 503/517-7396 • • Eliot Hall 218
Health & Counseling: 503/777-7281 •  • Health and Counseling Center
Business Office:  503/777-7505 • • Eliot Hall 307 & 308
Registrar’s Office: 503/777-7793 • • Eliot Hall 311
Financial Aid: 503/777-7223 • • Eliot Hall 202

Additional Resources: 

Emergency Absence Home
Alternatives to Taking a Leave