Student Wellness Services

Queen's University
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Student Wellness Services

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The words sick note written on a piecee fo paperSick Notes

Student Health Services seeks to provide medical care to our ever growing population of students when medically necessary, with limited medical resources available with which to do so. Wait times for students have been increasing. It is for this reason as well as issues around equity, that we cannot provide notes for those with acute minor infections or illnesses, whether they are seen by our physicians or not. 

It is hoped that students will be considered fairly, with empathy, and given the benefit of the doubt when reasonable. Most of us have, at some point, suffered minor illnesses and felt far too unwell to meet the demands facing us. To assist students with this process, Student Health Services provides a letter to Faculty and Staff explaining this sick note policy that students can print and take to their instructors. Students can also fill out our Self Declaration of Illness form and take it to their faculties/professors.

Verification of Illness

The policy and practice surrounding the conditions for supplying this documentation have been recently updated with a view to clarifying the conditions under which such documentation will be supplied by Health Services.

Policy for Issuing Verification of Illness (“sick notes”)

1. A “Verification of Illness” (VOI) should only be required in situations where a serious and/or chronic (long term) illness or injury results in a significant disruption of academic work.

2. Procedure: A VOI will be dated and signed by the issuing nurse or physician and also signed by the student. A three part form will be used:

  • The top copy (white) will be given to the student who will take it to the instructor(s) involved; this is the student’s responsibility
  • The second copy (yellow) will be sent to the relevant faculty office
  • The third copy (pink) will remain in the student’s file at Health Services

3. A Verification of Illness form will not be issued by Health Services for the following circumstances:

  • Death or serious family illness

Where a death or serious family illness interferes with academic performance
and formal documentation is required by the instructor, students may seek
documentation from a funeral home or the health-care professional overseeing
the particular family member.

  • Past illnesses/medical conditions for which there has been no previous treatment by Health Services

If a student has not been seen for a particular problem at Health Services a VOI will not be provided unless medical records documenting the problem are provided by the student from previous caregivers

  • Obvious injury

A VOI will not be provided in cases where the injury is obvious (e.g., a broken bone in a cast), the treating physician may be asked for documentation it is required.

  • Academic problems which are related to lifestyle choices

Students who elect to have periods with inadequate sleep, substance misuse (alcohol, caffeine/stimulants or “recreational” drugs), and/or oversubscribing to non-academic activities, may perform poorly academically, but are not eligible for VOI if documented illness is not a factor.

  • Minor and short-term illnesses or injuries

If a minor illness or injury is the cause of missing classes/labs/seminars, assignments, or exams (midterms or finals) a VOI will not be issued by Health Services. Minor illnesses include common infections such as colds, uncomplicated influenza, migraine headaches, gastroenteritis (diarrhea & vomiting), bladder infections, bronchitis, etc. Students should speak directly with their instructors on these matters to determine if accommodation is appropriate.

Students who do not qualify for an official Verification of Illness form based on the criteria outlined in the “Policy for Issuing Verification of Illness” may seek accommodation but should discuss the situation directly with their professor, preferably before a missed exam or late assignment. Individual professors are entitled to make decisions regarding accommodation; it is not a matter of university policy.