Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Medical Excuse Policy

It is the policy of the College that the Student Health Service does not provide written excuses for class absences due to short term illnesses.

The requirement of written excuses fosters a certain amount of distrust between faculty and students. Requiring a student to produce a note to “prove” they were ill goes against that trust; therefore it is best when students and faculty collaborate to resolve these issues. There are many patient confidentiality laws that must be observed. These laws make it very difficult to release any information about patients seen at Student Health Service. Also, it would create an enormous burden on the Student Health Service if we were to write excuses for everyone who is sick. This would be wasteful of our already limited resources.

Finally, and most importantly, the CDC recommends that notes not be required to excuse ill students.  Making students come to SHS for a note just exposes them (and others) to more infectious diseases.  Requiring a written excuse also makes students more likely to go to class when they are sick and should stay home.  This then becomes a public health issue. 

Student Health Service can help in the case of long term illnesses such as severe injuries, surgeries, other severe illnesses which require hospitalization, or any problem which requires a student to be out of classes or sport activities for prolonged periods.  In these cases, provided that we have supportive documentation, SHS will provide a memo to the appropriate Associate Dean to substantiate the student's absences.

Thank you for your compliance with this policy.

Contact Us

Student Health Service
Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-26
SUNY Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
Phone: 607-753-4811
Fax: 607-753-2486