Student Health Services

Practice Statement Regarding Excuse Notes

It is the practice of SCSU Health Services not to provide students with excuses for short-term absences from class or missed deadlines due to illness, injury, or mental health issues. In the event of a prolonged illness or injury requiring medical attention and an absence of more than 3 consecutive days of class or repeated intermittent absences, we frequently work with students to provide appropriate documentation.  Documentation is generally provided only to those students with whom we have an ongoing or formerly established relationship or for those students who can provide adequate medical documentation from other providers for us to verify absence due to medical hardship.

We recognize some faculty seek equitable means of determining when to excuse student absences, and we believe this practice reinforces the students’ responsibility to communicate directly and proactively with faculty about conditions that interfere with their class attendance. We encourage students to speed their own recovery and to refrain from spreading infections such as colds and flu throughout the campus community by making mature decisions when they are too sick to attend class or go to work.  We appreciate the many ways in which faculty and other members of the campus community support and assist students during such absences.

This practice reflects our respect for students’ privacy and our educational mission to help them become mature and independent stewards of their own health care. It is in accord with the university policy that does not require its employees to provide a written excuse for short-term absences.  It also enables Health Services to direct its finite resources toward providing health care access for as many students as possible, rather than toward verification of short-term absences for students who no longer need care. Moreover, in cases of students seeking excuses after a brief illness or injury that has been effectively and appropriately managed by self-care, our clinicians may have no direct knowledge about the student’s condition at the time of the absence.