Medical Excuse Policy

General Policy

Weill Cornell Student Health Service does not provide excuses for routine illnesses, injuries and mental health problems that may lead to missed educational activities. Cornell University expects that students are honest with their faculty regarding their ability to complete work, and faculty are expected to work with students on these issues. Faculty members who have concerns about attendance issues should notify the appropriate associate dean or program director for assistance.

Students with illness in Patient Care Settings

In order to prioritize patient safety, students are discouraged from participating in direct patient contact when seriously ill. If a student is determined to have symptoms or a condition that require the student be restricted from direct patient contact, the Director of Student Health will work with the student and supervising faculty in determining appropriate restriction of duties and any necessary, "return to work" evaluation. The student and their supervisor will determine the need and manner for making up missed work.

The following signs and symptoms of communicable illness should prompt students involved in patient care to receive evaluation at SHS: persistent cough, fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, red and weeping eyes.

Assistance with serious, ongoing illness or injury

When a student is hospitalized or has a serious, ongoing illness or injury, and with the student’s consent, the Director of Student Health (or Director of the Student Mental Health Program) will communicate with the appropriate staff in charge of the student’s educational program and remain available to discuss related matters of health leaves or accommodations. Medical students with ongoing illness or injury as a result of infectious agents or occupational hazards are reminded to contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (see page 46 of Student Handbook under "Effects of Infectious and Environmental Disease or Disability on Medical Student Learning Activities"

Print this policy

If professors or instructors request that you present a health or medical excuse from the Weill Cornell Student Health Service, please print a copy of this document to give to them. If you have ongoing concerns related to their request, please contact your academic advisor or dean’s office.

Students are advised to review their Attendance policies and procedures in their academic program’s Student Handbook

Medical College Student Handbook
PA Program Student Handbook

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