Attendance & Time Off Policy

Policy Statement

This policy addresses the expectations for student attendance and the procedures for requesting time off.

Purpose

Developing competency to practice medicine within four years requires reliable attendance. This policy formalizes the process for requesting time off for both planned or unexpected absences during the four years of medical school. The clear communication of expectations between students and course and clerkship directors will permit flexibility within reasonable limits in a way that does not impact either education or reflect on a student’s professionalism.

Definitions

Excused absences across the ALL years includes:

  • Acute Illness
  • Diagnostic, preventative, and therapeutic health services (including sick days)
  • Religious observances
  • Jury Duty
  • Unanticipated Family/Personal Emergencies
  • Conferences (only if the student is presenting, is an officer in a national organization, or other situations by special permission from the course/clerkship director)

Notification Expectations

For all planned time off, the student must notify the course, module or clerkship director as far in advance as possible:

  • Religious holiday notifications should occur before the start of the academic year.
  • Conference requests must be made at least 8 weeks before the start of the module or course.
  • For all excused absences, the student must contact the module or course director and/or coordinator to report the absence and its expected length as soon as possible.
  • If a student will be absent for more than 3 days, the student must obtain a note from their physician.

Extended Absences

If a student is absent from the pre-clerkship curriculum for 3 or greater mandatory sessions, the student is required to contact the course director(s) to discuss making up the academic time lost.  The registrar and the OSA must also be informed of all absences in the pre-clerkship or clerkship curriculum with 3 or greater mandatory sessions of absence. Every attempt will be made by the course/clerkship directors to help the student make-up sessions, if possible. If the time cannot be made up the student may be required to repeat the course or clerkship.

Medical Student Time Off During the Preclerkship Curriculum

Students in the First and Second Years are encouraged to attend all class sessions to fully benefit from the pre-clerkship curriculum.

Students are required to attend the following:

  • Any lecture at which a patient is present;
  • All small group sessions; and
  • Any mandatory session, as indicated on the class schedule.

In addition, in the doctoring courses, a student is not permitted to miss more than one small group session of any course with fewer than 8 sessions (such as Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) and Integrated Problems (IP)), regardless of the reason for the student’s absence. Students who miss a session of a course with fewer than 8 sessions will be required to meet with the course director and the student must be available to make up any time off at the discretion of the course director.  Repeated absences may require remediation or repeating the course”.

Medical Student Time Off During the Clerkship and 4th Year Curriculum

Professionalism in patient care requires reliable attendance.  Any third or fourth Year student with more than 5 absent days (not made up and excluding personal days) in one academic year will be referred to the Student Evaluation & Promotions Committee. It is the student’s sole responsibility to finish the year with fewer than 5 absent days as previously defined.

The time off policy for the Third and Fourth Years includes:

In addition to the excused absences defined above, other excused absences include:

  • Residency interviews
  • Personal Days (Refer to the Core Clerkship Personal Days Policy)
  • Step 2 CK
  • Missed clerkship time because of travel complications (must be reported to clerkship director immediately)

Please note exception: Step 2 CS – days off are considered working days and are not subject to this policy.

Specific Requirements for Residency Interviews

Students who need time away from their clerkships for residency interviews are permitted to request up to 12 days off during interview season, which runs from October 1 through February 15 of each academic year. In addition:

  • All requests for time off must provide the clerkship director with written confirmation of the interview date and location.
  • To minimize time away from the curriculum, students are encouraged to take a 4 week block of vacation during the residency interview season. Alternatively, students may request permission to split a 4 week rotation over 8 weeks if enrollment and the structure of the clerkship permit this schedule.
  • Students may request no more than 4 days off for interviewing during any 4 week rotation, and no more than 2 days over any 2 week rotation. This includes partial day absences of greater than four hours. Students will be required to make up time off at the clerkship director’s discretion.
  • Students who require more days off than permitted under this Policy must arrange with the clerkship director to make up the missed days. Missed days cannot be made up by taking time from other rotations.
  • Students are not permitted to take more than 2 days off in any core clerkship for residency interviews.

Making up Time in Clinical Experiences

  • For clinical experiences in the clerkships, the student must be available to make up any time off at the discretion of the clerkship director.

Relevant LCME Element(s): 8.8 Monitoring Student Time; 12.4 Student Access to Healthcare Services

Approved by the Medical Education Committee (MEC) on March 19, 2018.