Siena College Health Service does not routinely provide excuses for students who miss class due to illness or injury. Students who need to miss class due to illness/injury are encouraged to notify their faculty that they are ill or injured and unable to attend (and follow the directions provided by their faculty member on the course syllabus). Responsibility for class attendance and the completion of assignments rests primarily with the student, who is responsible for communicating directly with faculty. It is the purview of the faculty to determine when or if a student will be excused from class. 

This policy is consistent with our commitment to maintain confidentiality, encourage more appropriate use of health care resources, and support meaningful dialogue between teacher and student. Students are responsible for promptly notifying instructors about absences caused by illness or injury, preferably prior to the class time rather than after the class time.

We encourage faculty members to have the appropriate conversation with the student that allows the student to represent the situation to the faculty member. These are conversations that students will need to have with their bosses or supervisors in the future. These conversations between faculty and students are encouraged as a step toward adult independence in such matters -- the conversation that identifies how the student can fulfill their academic responsibilities and continue their academic efforts and achievements, while working around their illness.

In the event of an extended or serious medical problem, a student has the option of taking a medical leave.


A student will be placed on mandatory medical leave if the following has occurred:

  • It has been determined by a Health Service clinician (NP or MD) that the student requires more intensive medical care that can be provided in ambulatory setting;
  • The student has a medical condition, which requires isolation from the college community for safety or public health reasons such as a communicable disease or when the student is at risk to self or others.
  • The student refuses to follow reasonable medical guidelines for self-care, such that failure to do so places the student’s life at risk.  In such cases, the following policy will prevail:

The health care providers at the Siena College Health Service make the determination that the student must be placed on medical leave. Mandated Medical Leave, when it is for reasons of public heath safety as determined by St. Peter’s Hospital, New York State Department of Health and the Siena College Health Service (i.e., pertussis; or other communicable diseases which are reported to NYS Department of Health) requires the student to leave campus and remain off campus until s/he is cleared to return by the Health Service.

Students on Mandatory Medical Leave may not attend any classes or return to campus housing during the term of the Medical Leave. In the case of a Mandated Medical Leave, the parents/guardians of the student will be contacted by the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students or designee, Director of Community Living and requested to immediately arrange safe transportation home.

Where the parents or guardians themselves are unable to come to campus within a specified period, they must make arrangements for their child to leave campus within a specified time frame that provides for the safety of their son/daughter between the time s/he leaves campus and reaches an off campus, agreed upon location for the student to stay at while on Medical Leave. If the student refuses to cooperate with the medical leave policy, the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students or designee, or the Director or Community Living are to be contacted to come to the Health Service to explain and/or implement the policy. Students who fail to comply with the mandated medical leave, which includes leaving campus and not returning until cleared by Health Services to do so, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the College.

Siena College Health Service will submit the student’s name to the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students along with an estimate of the duration of the absence. No other information will be given without the student’s signed consent. The Dean of Students will notify the student’s instructors, Residence Director and Academic Affairs that the student is on a Medical Leave. The student is responsible for contacting their primary care provider to coordinate follow-up medical care at home, if advised to do so by the Health Service staff. If the student is required to seek follow-up care with their primary health care provider, then the primary care provider must submit a written report to the College Health Service stating the student has complied with the requirement and specifying any accommodations requested of the College Health Service regarding followup care. The student must also submit a written statement from their provider stating they are recommending the student resume college studies and stating any other pertinent medical information. The College Health Service will review the recommendations of the primary practitioner and determine if the recommendations regarding further medical care can be accommodated. The College Health Service makes the final decision as to whether the student will be permitted to return from Mandated Medical Leave. Prior to resuming classes, the student must present to Siena College Health Service in order to be cleared to return from medical leave. After reviewing the medical documentation provided by the student’s primary care provider and if needed, reexamining the student, the Siena College Health Service will make a final determination regarding the student’s suitability for resuming classes and campus life.

Siena College Health Service will notify the Dean of Students Office when a student’s medical leave has ended or if it needs to be extended. It is the student’s responsibility to contact his or her instructors to make arrangements for any missed class assignments or exams. Note: If a student becomes ill while at home, the student’s primary health care provider may request that the student be placed on medical leave by contacting the Dean of Students Office.