Policy: Medical excuses for class absences

USC Student Health does not provide routine written medical excuses for short-term absences from class or missed deadlines due to illness or injury. This practice policy is recommended by health services staff and approved by the Student Health Advisory Committee, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost.

The vast majority of legitimate excuses for missing classes, exams or deadlines (such as colds, flus, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, etc.) do not lend themselves to objective confirmation, especially after the fact. It is extremely difficult and often impossible to assess the seriousness of a condition after the fact. Most of these conditions require self-care, not an office visit. When feeling too ill to go to work or class, most students do not seek in-person medical care, choosing to remain at home to rest and care for themselves.

Medical Excuse Policy:

• “Class excuse” notes are not provided by USC Student Health
• “Class excuse” appointments are not considered appropriate for clinical visit scheduling
• USC Student Health does not provide authentication of outside physician certificates

This policy supports our mission to support student and campus health. This policy is similar to others adopted at many other colleges and universities. Medical excuses require students to seek medical care just to provide documentation of the missed class assignment, exam, etc. It disadvantages the sick student who must leave their comfortable, self-care environment, exposes other students, faculty and staff to potentially infectious agents, and uses medical resources better used providing health care for those who need it.

Students are able to print an “Absence Excuse” form for self-verification of an illness that can be used to begin a dialogue with you. This letter serves as verification that USC Student Health does not provide absence excuses. Our policy is consistent with the policies of our peer institutions as well as the American College Health Association. It also reflects our commitment to maintaining patient confidentiality, teaching students how to use healthcare resources appropriately, and supporting meaningful dialogue between students and teachers. Faculty assistance in working with students who are ill or injured but practicing self-care is greatly appreciated. As always USC Student Health will continue to assist students and faculty by helping with treatment and documentation of significant health problems.