Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney made the right decision by requesting that UNC’s faculty continue to be flexible with students who are missing class due to H1N1 .
Carney sent a note to faculty members asking that they allow excused absences for students who are staying home with H1N1 symptoms, regardless of whether they are able to produce a signed doctor’s note.
Carney’s Sept. 14 letter said that rather than forcing students to provide documentations of illness, Campus Health Services should be allowed to focus on providing care to sick students.
Requiring Campus Health to provide a signed note to every student who displays symptoms of H1N1 would be an unnecessary difficulty.
With more than 300 cases of H1N1 confirmed just last week, Campus Health has been inundated with students calling in or making appointments to get diagnosed and receive a note to show their professors.
Alert Carolina, Campus Health and administrators have all given the same advice to students who display symptoms of H1N1: self-isolate.
Individuals who have contracted H1N1 should be able to stay home and recover without having to make an unnecessary trip to Campus Health, especially since most cases can be cured without direct medical care.
Professors and teaching assistants should heed Carney’s request and not require written proof of illness.
If students avoid unnecessary trips to receive doctor’s notes, it not only prevents Campus Health from being overly burdened, but it also reduces the risk of those with H1N1 spreading the disease to others.
Excusing absences without notes will help keep doctors’ offices open to those who need care, although the student body needs to keep in mind that this policy should not be abused.
Professors who follow this policy are entrusting students to be truthful, and students should honor their trust by only requesting an excused absence if flu symptoms are keeping them home.