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Unplanned (Vital Needs) Absence Policy (all curriculum years)

Unplanned absences must be brought to the attention of the course/clerkship director as well as the direct supervisors in the clinical years, as soon as possible, to obtain approval for the absence. Unplanned absences are those that are due to unexpected illness, personal or family emergency. Students will be excused from course or clinical responsibilities upon notifying the course director. Unplanned absences will be recorded, in line with established policies and expectations of a work environment, to ensure that students remain on track with reaching educational goals and expectations, and that the number of absences does not cause an undue burden for students or courses.

To maintain student privacy, students may state they have an "illness", "family emergency" (which includes serious illness or death of a close family member), or a "medical appointment"; the student is not required to disclose details. However, students may be asked to provide documentation (e.g. a doctor’s note vouching for illness lasting more than 2 days).

  • While non-critical illnesses of a child or dependent family member or unexpected dependent school/program closures are not considered emergencies; we understand that these may pose a challenge for students. Accordingly, students should proactively anticipate that these challenges can occur, and should make back-up arrangements in advance for these unexpected Additionally, students are encouraged to reach out to Student Affairs early to determine whether resources are available to support students with these unexpected events.
  • Students are expected to report to school/work in inclement weather, unless otherwise directed through the school’s Inclement Weather Policy.
  • For anticipated recurring absences related to chronic illness or physical/medical concerns, or any illness expected to impact full participation in coursework for a period of more than 1 week, students will be referred to the Americans with Disabilities Act/

Student ADA policy (https://www.umassmed.edu/ada/) to obtain accommodations for the possibility of recurrent absences.