Medical Excuse Policy

Excuses for Absence from Class for Non-Emergency Medical Reasons

It is the policy of the Western Washington University Student Health Center to not provide medical excuses for short-term absences that result in missed classes, exams, or assignments due to illness or injury. In certain circumstances where the illness or injury is prolonged (an absence of more than five days) and requires medical attention or hospitalization, we will work with students in providing appropriate documentation.

The decision for our policy is based on: 

  1. Our limited staff and resources, which are better dedicated to providing health care access for as many students as possible rather than toward verification of short-term medical absences
  2. The inability for us to make valid determinations about illnesses or injuries that have been effectively managed by self-care
  3. Our commitment to student privacy


This policy is similar to most major universities and is consistent with the recommendations of the American College Health Association.

Students are instructed to contact their professor or teaching assistant in the event they need to miss class due to an illness, injury or an emergency. While absence from class should be a rare occurrence, the Western Washington University Student Health Center encourages students to make mature decisions when they are too sick to attend class. All decisions about the impact of an absence, as well as any arrangements for making up work, rest with the instructors.

What is an Emergency Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons?

A leave of absence from classes may be granted when psychological or family emergency, illness or injury requires a student to be absent from class. Leaves of absence are issued only upon request from the student. If a faculty member requires medical or emergency leaves of absence, the faculty member will inform the student in their course syllabus. Medical Leaves of Absence are obtained through the Student Health Center.  Non-medical Leaves of Absence are available through the Dean of Students office (Viking Union 506).

While a leave of absence generally makes it possible for the student to make up work missed, in some instances the amount of time lost makes course completion impractical. In those cases, withdrawal or incomplete grades may be appropriate. A student absent from any exam or class activity through sickness or other cause judged by the instructor to be unavoidable shall be given an opportunity to take a rescheduled exam or make up the class assignment in a timely manner agreed upon by the instructor. Examples of unavoidable cause may include participation in university-sponsored activities such as debating contests, musical or theatrical performances, or intercollegiate athletic competition. The student should consult with course instructors and/or the Dean of Students office.

If the student was evaluated outside the Student Health Center, an Emergency Medical Leave of Absence can still be requested from the Student Health Center by providing medical documentation from the student’s health care provider.  Important information needed would include a brief description of the condition and the expected dates of the absence. This documentation must be faxed to the Student Health Center at (360) 650-3883 or (360) 650-4580.  Documentation can also be emailed to The Leave of Absence will then be emailed directly to the faculty member by the Medical Director only if the student has requested this and has given permission to do so.

What is a Hardship Withdrawal?

A student who is unable to complete a course due to hardship may petition for a late course withdrawal after the stated deadlines. Hardship is considered to be an incapacitating injury or illness requiring extensive recuperation or a significant personal emergency such as death in the immediate family. Verification of the hardship is required. Petitions for a late course withdrawal on the basis of hardship are available through the Office of Student Life and must be submitted by the last day of the week prior to finals.

How to Print Student Health Center Dates of Service

If you were seen at the Student Health Center you can print out the dates you were seen from WebView.  Here's how to do it:
(Note: This needs to be done from a computer - not your phone)

  1. Log into WebView
  2. ​Click on "Appointments" on the left side of your screen
  3. Print this information
    1. On a Windows machine: Press and hold the "ctrl" key on your keyboard and hit the "P" key on your keyboard 
    2. On a Mac: Press and hold the "command" key on your keyboard and hit the "P" key on your keyboard