5.5 Gathering Standards
PathwayConnect students are expected to attend all gatherings during the semester in person. Gathering via Skype, phone, or similar means is not permitted. Students should plan their schedule accordingly and make any necessary arrangements to attend each Thursday gathering.
Attendance for course gatherings is self-reported and comprises a significant portion of a student’s overall course grade. If illness or other temporary issue arises and a student does not attend a gathering, the student’s grade will be negatively impacted. (See 5.5.3 Gathering Cancellations, Excusals, and Waivers for further details). Specific information regarding how attendance impacts grades may be found within each of the academic courses. Students should carefully consult the grading policy contained in their course syllabus to determine how heavily gathering attendance will weigh in to their final grade. Institute attendance is managed by each local institute.
Pathway missionaries who identify a discrepancy between a student’s reported attendance and his/her actual attendance should discuss the alleged discrepancy with the student. If further action is needed, missionaries may contact Pathway Support. Institute attendance is managed by each local institute.
Students who are traveling and are unable to attend their assigned gathering(s) may attend another gathering in the city they are visiting and still obtain attendance credit. Traveling students are encouraged to attend a gathering with the same course as their own; however, students who do not have that option may attend any PathwayConnect gathering. (This does not apply to institute courses.) Before visiting a site, students should contact the missionaries over the site to notify them of their intended visit. Missionary contact information can be found on the BYU-Pathway Worldwide website or by calling Pathway Support Students should direct any attendance-related questions to their online instructors for BYU-Idaho courses or their institute instructor for institute courses.
Pathway missionaries are expected to attend all gatherings and are also encouraged to attend institute gatherings (where applicable).
On the rare occasion that missionaries must be absent, they should schedule a substitute well in advance. Potential substitutes could include other local or previous Pathway missionaries, the institute instructor, a former student, or other individuals who are actively involved in the program. Please contact your Pathway area manager with questions.
Missionaries play a key role in establishing a spiritual environment wherein the Holy Ghost can minister. This involves minimizing potential distractions. It is recommended that students do not bring their children, family members, friends, or other visitors with them to the weekly gatherings.
Individuals who are interested in observing a PathwayConnect gathering prior to applying for admission into the program are always welcome, but such visits should be scheduled through the Pathway missionaries when possible.
Additionally, local priesthood/auxiliary leaders; BYU-Idaho faculty; program administrators; and other employees of the Church, Seminaries & Institutes, and BYU-Idaho are welcome at PathwayConnect gatherings. They can schedule visits by contacting the Pathway Support Center.
In very rare instances, Pathway missionaries may need to cancel a gathering due to extreme weather, unsafe situations, or other emergencies. Missionaries should notify their area manager if such an emergency occurs.
Pathway missionaries should notify all students in advance, if possible, of any gathering cancellations. Students will not lose attendance points for approved gathering cancellations; however, they must contact their BYU-Idaho instructors, explain the circumstances for the cancellation, and request to be excused from the week’s gathering.
Missionaries at international sites may cancel gatherings that fall on local national holidays.
Online course instructors may excuse a student who missed a gathering in the event of rare, extenuating circumstances, as determined by the instructor. These circumstances include a natural disaster, death in the family, medical emergency, birth of a child, or another serious or unsafe situation. If a student needs to ask for more than three such excusals, they should consult with Pathway Support to discuss their circumstances.
There are some rare occasions where Pathway Support may grant a waiver for some or all of a student’s gatherings. Students may only receive a gathering waiver during one semester. First-semester students do not receive gathering waivers. When a student is granted a gathering waiver, BYU-Pathway Worldwide will notify Online Instruction so they can notify the instructor to excuse the affected gatherings. Students should also send a copy of the gathering waiver to their instructors. Students will be expected to complete all assignments normally completed at the gathering.
*L students receiving a gathering waiver are still expected to complete the peer discussion appointment. This can be done with anyone of their choosing.
PathwayConnect generally follows the BYU-Idaho academic calendar, which includes the observance of certain U.S. national and local holidays. Some of these holidays may fall on a Thursday on a permanent or occasional basis and will impact the PathwayConnect gathering, as well as require instructors to modify some assignment deadlines for the week. U.S. holidays that are observed on other days of the week should not have any impact on PathwayConnect courses, though some instructors may choose to allow assignments to be submitted on a later date. Area managers will notify missionaries and students of holidays that may impact the gathering during each semester.
International locations will normally cancel the gathering during official holidays, as noted above; however, they have the flexibility to gather on such holidays if they need to make up a gathering due to a prior or expected cancellation (see 5.5.3 Gathering Cancellations).