This information is for Student Health Services (SHS) staff in an effort to

  • provide guidelines for the writing of class excuse notes by SHS staff, and 
  • ensure appropriate utilization of SHS by instructors/faculty and students.

Students are expected to attend all classes unless they are ill or prevented from attending by exceptional circumstances. Not every illness or absence from class requires an evaluation in Student Health Services or an excuse note. This is not an appropriate use of SHS and decreases the availability of medical services for other students with urgent medical care needs. Notes will not be given retrospectively. A student who may have been legitimately ill, but who did not visit Student Health Services while ill, will not be given a class excuse note for the past illness. It is extremely difficult and often impossible to assess the seriousness of a condition after an illness when a person is no longer sick. Students should never be sent to Student Health Services for the sole purpose of obtaining an excuse note for class. 

We believe that young adults need to learn how to be responsible for their work habits and need to learn appropriate usage of the healthcare system. Additionally, requiring students to provide a note excusing them from class fosters an environment of distrust. 

Policy and Procedure

  • Student Health Services does not provide excuse notes for minor illness or injuries. 
  • Verification of visit notes will only be provided stating the time and date the student was evaluated in Student Health Services. This states that the student came to Student Health Services; it is not an excuse from class. Any Student Health Services staff member who can verify that a student was in Student Health Services can give a student this note.   
  • Notes will not be provided by Student Health Services retrospectively if the student was not seen in SHS at the time of their illness. A self reporting note is available for the students to use in these cases. 
  • A student’s personal health information will not be discussed with an instructor/faculty unless the student signs a “Release of Information” form.
  • Class attendance is an academic honesty issue between instructor and student and is not an SHS issue. Students are responsible for notifying instructors/faculty about absences that result from serious illness, injury or a critical personal problem.
  • If a student is treated outside of SHS, any information or notes must be provided from the student's outside treating physician.

Learn more about the ethical issues of class excuses.

Read The Medical Excuse Game Revisited from the Journal of American College Health.