Absence from Class Due to Illness

The Student Health and Wellness Center and the Office of the Dean of Student Life do not provide documentation for students who miss individual classes. For more detailed information on this policy, please read the PDF Document: Homewood policy on absence from class due to illness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding student illness and class attendance/participation.

What if I get sick and can’t attend class?

If your illness is interfering with your ability to meet academic obligations, please visit the SHWC promptly to be evaluated.

If you will miss class or are unable to complete assignments due to an illness, notify your professor promptly by email. This should be done before you miss class unless you are unable (for example, if you are hospitalized or incapacitated). If you are unable to notify your professor of a missed class or assignment prior to class, notify your professor as soon as possible.

Can I get a note to verify my illness?

While the SHWC may be able to provide a note verifying your visit due to an illness, please note that the SHWC does not provide notes for every visit. Notes are only provided when symptoms impede a student’s ability to complete a major assignment or due to symptoms a student must miss a significant number of classes. In situations where the SHWC is unable to provide a note verifying your visit, it is important that you take responsibility for keeping up with any class content you missed as well as stay in touch with your professor.

Additionally, to protect your privacy, the SHWC does not provide diagnoses in a note verifying your visit. The note should serve as adequate proof that you experienced an illness that significantly affected your ability to complete academic requirements.

The Office of the Dean of Student Life cannot verify illnesses to your professors.

Will the Office of the Dean of Student Life notify my professors of an illness?

Typically, it is your responsibility to notify faculty that you are too ill to attend class or complete an assignment. This is important since direct communication between you and your professor is the only way for you to keep up with class requirements and understand what your professor needs from you in order to accommodate an illness.

If the Office of the Dean of Student Life is notified that you are hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated, we will notify your professors. When you are discharged from the hospital or well enough to communicate with your professors, you should still do so as you will need to work out arrangements for missed classes/assignments directly with your teachers.

How will my professors accommodate my absences or missed tests/assignments when I am sick?

Your professor determines how to accommodate for absences or missed assignments due to illness. Some professors may allow you an extension or make-up assignment, while others may re-weight existing assignments. It is important to understand and follow your professor’s policy related to illness and missed work.

This information may be on your professor’s syllabus. If you’re unclear on how to handle absences or missed assignments due to illness for a particular class, please contact that professor.

How should I talk with my professor about absences or missed tests/assignments?

Notify your professor promptly when you realize you are too ill to attend class or complete a test/assignment on time. If you visited the SHWC and received a note verifying your visit, be sure to email this to your professor for any affected classes.

Ask your professor what you should do in terms of a missed class or assignment. You may wish to offer an option when you email your professor; for example, “I will get notes from the class I missed from a classmate. Is it okay if I turn in this assignment on Friday instead of Wednesday since I haven’t been able to work on it while ill?” Please understand that your professor may have limitations on what can be done to accommodate your illness. For example, if the professor has to hand back the results of a test to the rest of your class, it may not be possible for you to re-take a missed exam. In that case, you may need to discuss alternatives with your professor.

What if my professor and I are unsure how to handle missed assignments due to my illness?

If you or your professor have questions about illnesses impacting your academics, either of you may contact deanofstudentlife@jhu.edu with questions or concerns.

If you experience a prolonged illness that interferes substantially with your academic requirements for the semester, you may need to consider a medical leave of absence for the semester. You may also discuss options for withdrawing from classes with your academic advisor or a case manager. Please call the Office of the Dean of Student Life at 410-516-8208 if you need to discuss this option further.