Medical Excuse Notes

Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and American College Health Association recommendations, the SSU Student Health Center (SHC) does not provide medical excuse notes for missed classes, assignment deadlines, etc. except in those rare instances where the SHC has specifically recommended a specific and significant extended time away from classes or referred the student for hospitalization.

Many acute illness and injuries can best be handled by rest and self-care at home and do not necessarily need a face to face visit with a medical provider. In such instances, a medical visit to obtain a medical excuse should not be required or encouraged, as this activity can subject the individual to unnecessary discomfort or injury, compromise the individual's recovery, and needlessly expose others to infectious illness. Filling a physician's appointment schedule with these kinds of visits also interferes with healthcare access for patients whose illnesses or injuries do require physician attention and unnecessarily consumes medical resources.

Healthcare providers must take patient complaints of headache, back pain, dizziness, indigestion, anxiety, depression, etc. seriously, even when there are no attendant physical findings. Excuse note requirements that might motivate an individual to overstate symptoms can lead to unnecessary, potentially costly, and sometimes harmful diagnostic tests or treatments and saddle the patient with an inaccurate medical record or diagnosis that could compromise future care or insurability.

In many cases the Student Health Center (and any other medical provider) has no way to evaluate the degree to which reported symptoms actually interfere with a student's ability to participate in required coursework. Most illness and absence circumstances are therefore best worked out between the student and the instructor, who has had an opportunity to observe the student's academic performance and knows what is required for success in the course. Decisions of this nature are and should be at the discretion of course instructors.

SSU students are therefore encouraged to contact their professors or instructors by whatever method indicated in the course syllabus or by the academic department and notify him/her promptly of an illness, injury, or other reason for missing class or not turning in an assignment and discuss potential solutions with them.