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Managing Student Absences

Students who must miss class for minor illnesses or routine medical reasons are expected to communicate directly with their professors about handling the academic consequences of absences, and they should be prepared to offer documentation for such absences. The Student Health Center provides cards documenting when students have been seen for minor illnesses; the Psychological and Counseling Center also provides documentation of individual appointment attendance. The Dean’s Office does not provide excuses for students who miss class for minor medical reasons.

In the case of more severe conditions or situations that result in extended absence from class, students are encouraged to contact the Dean’s Office for assistance. Dean’s Office staff may notify instructors via email to offer information and to ask for consideration in helping students catch up on missing work. The Dean’s Office can also advise students about procedures for requesting medical leaves.

Faculty are encouraged to notify the Dean’s Office when students are not attending class regularly, or when medical or personal conditions appear to be interfering with students’ successful completion of their work. We are happy to work with faculty to determine the appropriate means of supporting students who are experiencing difficulties. If you have particular concerns about a student’s mental or physical health, you may alert the appropriate associate dean and other relevant medical or professional resources by completing the Student of Concern Reporting Form.

If you have questions about managing student absence for medical reasons, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at


Q: What do I do if I have to miss class to go to the Student Health Center or PCC?
A: Ask the Health Center or PCC for documentation of your visit. Present the documentation to your instructor(s) and ask about how you can make up the work you missed.

Q. What do I do if I have an illness or other medical event or condition that prevents me from attending class for more than a week?
A. Request documentation from your provider to present to your instructors, and communicate with them as soon as possible about how you can make up the work missed. Please also let the Dean’s Office know by contacting [enter contact]. The Dean’s Office can also advise you about procedures for requesting withdrawal for medical reasons.

Q: What do I do if my instructor says that he or she needs verification of absences from a dean?
A: Refer them to this document, and provide them with appropriate documentation from your provider. It is the responsibility of the individual instructor to excuse absences. If they have specific questions about an absence or want advice about how to handle it, they may contact one of the associate deans.

Q: How do I request a medical leave of absence?
A: Contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at

Q: What do I do if I need classroom accommodations arising from chronic medical conditions?
A: Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services (EAD) at 615-322-4705. EAD staff can help you determine eligibility for accommodations and can communicate with faculty formally if accommodations are approved.