5.5 Gathering Standards
PathwayConnect students are expected to attend all gatherings during the semester in person. Gathering via Skype, phone, or a similar means is not permitted. Students should plan their schedule accordingly and make any necessary arrangements to attend each Thursday gathering.
Attendance for BYU-Idaho 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.
PathwayConnect 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 their area manager at the PathwayConnect Home Office. 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.) Students should direct any attendance-related questions to their online instructors for BYU-Idaho courses or their institute instructor for institute courses.
PathwayConnect missionaries are expected to attend all gatherings associated with a BYU-Idaho course and are also encouraged to attend institute gatherings (where applicable).
If a missionary companionship needs to miss a gathering, a substitute should be scheduled in advance. Potential substitutes could include other local PathwayConnect missionaries, the institute director, or other individuals who are actively involved in the program.
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 PathwayConnect 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 welcomed guests at PathwayConnect gatherings.
In very rare instances, PathwayConnect missionaries may need to cancel a gathering due to extreme weather, unsafe situations, or other emergencies. Missionaries should notify their PathwayConnect manager if such an emergency occurs.
PathwayConnect 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 natural disaster, death in the family, medical emergency, birth of a child, or other serious or unsafe situation. If a student needs to ask for more than three such excusals, they should consult with PathwayConnect Support to discuss their circumstances.
There are some rare occasions where PathwayConnect Support may grant a waiver for some or all of a student’s gatherings. When a student is granted a gathering waiver, the PathwayConnect Home Office will notify Online Instruction so they can notify the instructor to excuse the affected gatherings. Students will be expected to complete all assignments normally completed at the gathering.
PathwayConnect generally follows the academic calendar of BYU-Idaho, 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. The PathwayConnect Home Office 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).