Sick at Centre: A Roadmap


BY MORGAN UNDERWOOD – STAFF WRITER

It’s 7:30 in the morning, you wake up feeling terrible and unusually tired, but you can’t afford to miss class at this point in the semester so you decide to attend anyway. Fast forward 24 hours later when you’re waking up again at 7:30 in the morning to puke your guts out with your fever, cold chills, ear ache, and sore throat. You’re lying in bed weighing your pros and cons, then you present yourself three options:

  1. Drag your ailing body out of bed and into class, saving yourself missed class time and an absence, but also risking a longer recovery time and possibly infecting everyone in your class (including your professor)
  2. Somehow find your way to Parsons, either by staggering across campus scaring everyone into thinking you might actually be a zombie, because the struggle to walk to Parsons while sick is more than real, or by calling DPS for an embarrassing, yet energy saving, pick me up (hopefully not in the golf cart), also ensuring an excused absence
  3. Shoot your professor an email explaining to them that you will be MIA this class, and burrow back under your covers and continue to wallow in your sickness and over the counter remedies.

If you’ve ever been anything like me this past week, you have picked each of these options at least once. If you’re frequently sick (once again, like me) you go through this process more than once or twice a semester. So how can we navigate Centre’s Absence policy in the most effective manner? Often each professor has a different preference and requirement for your class attendance. Clearly, most professors prefer you to be in class, but in class healthy. They don’t want to be sick just as much as you don’t. Most professors I’ve had here on campus have been fairly understanding about illness, preferring me to not come to class and thus give them my germs. Yet still, on each syllabus there is an attendance policy often with certain consequences for absences, specifically unexcused absences.

Many professors have different views on unexcused absences. Bottom line, Centre College states for an absence related to illness you must have a medical excuse from a hospital your primary care physician or Parson’s Student Health Center. Specific information is located on the website under student health services, although confusingly the Centre College Catalog will tell you to look in the Student Handbook.  The Catalog chooses to use the term excessive absences, which is missing 3 or more classes consecutively or missing 12 or more class hours in each of two or more classes. Which would result in grounds for immediate suspension. Excused absences really come in only two ways medically or an official excuse from the college such as missing for an official Centre event, like for a sports team. Unexcused absences policies in a more general sense seem to be left up to the discretion of the Professor, what they will take as excused or unexcused, etc.

So if you’re looking to navigate the land of unexcused absences, my advice would be don’t. It seems to be nearly impossible. So as I would do, just take a chance and miss class; try to stay within the specified number of unexcused absences as dictated by your professor, or you could become a piece of furniture at Parsons Student Health Center and show up every day that you would need to miss class to earn that excused absence for illness. Communicate with your faculty and professors about illness, and hopefully they’ll show you some understanding and compassion. Your health is important, remember Centre always says that you’re a person first and a student second, that includes if you’re a sick person.


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