As a policy, the Student Health Center (SHC) does not provide notes for brief absences due to illness/injury. If students have to miss class, we strongly advise them to directly communicate this with their faculty in a timely manner to ensure necessary accommodations can be made. The faculty is well aware that students do get sick and are willing to work with students about missed coursework. We encourage personal responsibility and accountability for class attendance decisions.
Provision of a medical excuse will depend on health care provider’s assessment of the severity of the illness. Examples of situations when a note may be provided:
- SHC medical provider has advised a student not to attend class for two or more consecutive days due to medical necessity
- Student with a prolonged illness or hospitalization, of which SHC is aware.
- Documentation from ER/Hospital/Urgent care for acute illness or injury
Be advised, notes from SHC do not exempt students from course requirements and class attendance policies. Please understand that decisions about ability to make-up classwork and assignments are made solely by the instructor. Student should reach-out to faculty about how to best work-around absences caused by illnesses or injuries in order to continue academic efforts and activities.
SHC many times provides a “Patient Instruction Summary” with student’s current diagnosis, recommended medications/treatment plan, and supportive measures. This may serve as evidence/proof of their encounter at the health center. However, please note that this document is not an excuse for missed classes and should not necessarily imply that an absence from class was recommended by health care staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I have a note from the SHC, will I automatically be excused for an absence from class and/or be allowed to make-up a missed assignment or test?
Not necessarily. SHS can provide documentation that you were seen in the health center, but even when there is a medical need for an absence, all students must complete course requirements and abide by course policies. Instructors may or may not take the note into consideration when determining if an absence can be excused or an assignment/test can be made-up. This is why it is very important to remain engaged with your instructor about needing to be away from class.
May I get a note for an illness or injury that happened in the past?
Generally not. SHES can only substantiate the need for an absence if a student is medically evaluated at the time of an injury or illness.
May I provide my instructor with a medical note from an off-campus medical provider?
Yes, you may provide and off-campus medical note. Instructors, however, may or may not consider a medical note when making decisions about absences.
Do I have to disclose specific medical issues to my instructor?
No. Class attendance policies are written with the understanding that there may be a need for students to miss classes due to injuries or illnesses. There should be no need to disclose personal medical information. If there is the need to validate that there is a serious medical condition requiring time away from school, SHC will provide support.
Will SHC automatically disclose specific medical issues to instructors?
No. SHC can validate the need for time away from school due to a medical condition without disclosing specific medical issues. SHES respects the privacy of students and abides by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). SHC releases health information to faculty only with the written consent of a student.
If I have a note from SHC, will I automatically be excused for an absence from class and/or be allowed to make-up a missed assignment or test?
Not necessarily. SHC can provide an opinion that there is a medical need for an absence; and even when there is a medical need for an absence, all students must complete course requirements and abide by course policies. Instructors may or may not take the note into consideration when determining if an absence can be excused or an assignment/test can be made-up. This is why it is very important to remain engaged with your instructor about needing to be away from class.