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I advise our assignment administrators that they should either enforce assignments to 100% completion or add end dates. Otherwise, it won't be long before you have many older assignments perpetually lingering on To Do pages. Students soon learn that some assignments can be ignored. We definitely don't want to send that message.
What happens with delinquent students is at the discretion of the education owner. For high priority education, corrective action may be applied. Supervisors are asked to ensure their workforce members are current and to take that into account during reviews. I've heard of some sites withholding raises until courses are complete (part of pursuing to 100% completion). We have turned off network access, temporarily turning it back on and allowing x days to complete the courses until it's turned off again.
In a past role, LOAs were asked to complete courses before planned leaves. Otherwise, they would be delinquent for any deadlines they missed and asked to catch-up when they return, with varying degrees of checking on that. In my current role, we do make a special assignment for LOAs. For education I manage directly, if I make individual assignments (a variety of courses required depending on the student), I make a corresponding student group to help with tracking through reports.
And I voted for the idea on the old site that requested a due date extension feature for situations like LOAs. That would be handy.
I hope this helps!