A new medical excuse policy was implemented by San Diego State Student Health Services last Monday.
The new policy states that any short-term absence (five days or less) as a result of illness or injury will no longer qualify for student medical excuse documentation from SHS.
However, students with a prolonged illness or injury who require medical attention or hospitalization will still be assisted in providing documentation.
“SHS will, at the student’s request and with the student’s consent, communicate with the student’s academic adviser and/or Student Disability Services,” SHS administrative manager Joanne Stroud said.
The main reason the policy was implemented is to ensure availability of medical appointments for treatment or prevention of illness by reducing visits that are solely to obtain a medical excuse note for class. In addition, health reasons played a major role in the decision.
“The H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic taught us that it is not good public health policy to have highly contagious patients sitting in waiting rooms and potentially transmitting their infections to others waiting for care, when they can be given information how to self-manage their medical care at home,” Stroud said.
If a student needs to miss class because of an illness, injury or emergency, he or she is instructed to contact their professors.
Ultimately, all decisions regarding the student’s absence, such as making up work, will be determined by instructors.
“This is a discussion that needs to take place between the professor and the student,” Stroud said.
In such cases, academic advisers are available to address concerns about absences.
For some students, taking the steps of the new policy seems a bit frustrating.
“It’s definitely going to be less convenient now,” international business sophomore Obilleni Garcia said. “Providing a medical note to professors seems a lot easier than having to explain absences and work it out.”
Students may provide their professors with an informational letter explaining the policy, which is available at the SHS office and on the website.
The policy, which has been considered for more than a year and been discussed with Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Edith Benkov, was decided by the Director of SHS Thomas Wilson and the Medical Director of SHS Gregg Lichtenstein.
According to Stroud, the policy complies with SDSU policy, which does not require its employees to provide a written medical excuse for short-term medical absences.
“(The policy) is consistent with other major universities’ policies and the American College Health Association recommendations,” Stroud said.