When Students are Ill and Miss Academic Requirements

November 16, 2022

Students should work directly with their instructor to address the impact of class absence due to an illness or medical condition. 

Campus Health provides exam excuses for final exams only. Campus Health does not issue excuses for exams during the semester.

University approved absences are not provided for common short-term illness 

The University asks course instructors to work directly with students in most cases where student illness results in missed classes, quizzes, tests, or assignments. Instructors have the authority to make academic adjustments based on their class absence policies. Remember - no one wants students to attend class while ill.    

In extreme situations, the university decides a student must be excused from academic requirements and will issue a University Approved Absence (UAA). UAAs are not issued for most illnesses, especially not those resulting in three or fewer class sessions being missed. Health conditions that may qualify for a UAA include: 

  • Hospitalizations 
  • Severe communicable diseases requiring isolation (measles, mumps, tuberculosis, varicella) 
  • A severe injury or condition that affects mobility and/or cognition 
  • Acute exacerbation of a chronic health issue 

Students should not feel pressured to attend class when they have a fever, are vomiting, or otherwise suffer from a communicable illness. Similarly, students should not feel pressured to go to a doctor or visit another campus office only for documentation of their illness. Nor should students feel pressured to disclose personal health information. Remember many valid reasons for missing class exist that do not fall within University Approved Absences.

Learn more about the University Approved Absence Policy.  

We All Have A Role to Play 

  • Students are responsible for informing their instructors and supervisors when they will miss requirements because they are ill. Students should seek medical care when necessary but stay home otherwise until feeling better. Students who experience difficulty communicating with their instructors may connect with the Director of Undergraduate/Graduate Studies and/or the Department Chair for the subject of course.  
  • Instructors are responsible for working directly with students regarding missed classes, quizzes, tests or assignments due to short-term illness. Only the instructor – not the Dean of Students nor Campus Health – can determine if the student can make up missed work or class absences.  
  • Campus Health is responsible for providing medical care for students. We ask that students DO NOT schedule appointments simply for documentation of their illness, as this limits availability for students needing medical care. Campus Health does not provide excuses for routine illness including those that result in missed classes, quizzes or tests. Campus Health can help with documentation for extended illnesses or injuries, including those resulting in medical withdrawal from classes. Campus Health can also help if a student is ill during final exams.  
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