Student Absence Policy

Students are expected to attend lectures, rotations, and take exams on time. However, the CVM knows that life happens, people become ill, alarm clocks fail, and cars break down. Additionally, you have the option of taking up to 5 planned, approved, and excused days off from clinical duty.

Excused Pre-clinical Absences

Excused pre-clinical absences are defined in two ways. First, as personal emergencies beyond the control of the individual, such as illness or injury to the student involved or their immediate family, or a death in the immediate family. Second, excused absences may be granted to attend meetings or conferences if there is exceptional professional benefit to the student. Excused absences are not given for holiday travel and family events.

If you anticipate an absence prior to class for a personal or medical hardship, please do the following:

  • Inform the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs of your upcoming absence by completing the online student absence notification form. This form will be forwarded to the course coordinators for the instruction period (IP).
  • Discuss with instructors that you will be absent and arrange to make up any material/testing. For planned absence, you may be asked to take tests a day early rather upon your return.
  • If you have seen a health care provider, we request that you provide documentation of the visit.

If your absence is unexpected (e.g., illness), you may simply fill out the online form as soon as you know you will be missing class. You must contact your instructors upon your return to make up any material that you have missed. Failure to fill out the online form in a timely manner or failure to provide medical documentation, if applicable, will negate the request for an excused absence.

Excused absences for scientific or professional events are limited to one per IP. In order to obtain an excused absence for a conference or event in the preclinical curriculum, the following procedures must be followed:

  • Before the start or within the first five days of an IP a student may apply for an excused absence to attend a scientific or professional development conference or a legislative day event.
  • The faculty advisor of the associated club or organization, in discussion with the course director and Associate Dean of Student and Academic Affairs, will evaluate the application to approve or deny the absence.
  • If approved, any missed exams or quizzes will be subject to make-up at the professor’s discretion in timeline and format. Tests may be administered before the absence if this is deemed appropriate by the instructor. Students are responsible for all material missed.
  • For conferences with many students attending (e.g., SAVMA symposium), the online absence form is still required but one form should be completed for multiple students.

Unexcused Pre-clinical Absences

Students may wish to plan an unexcused absence for family events, etc., that are not eligible for an excused absence. In the event you seek to make-up an exam or assignment for a planned but unexcused absence, you should discuss with the instructors well in advance of the absence to determine if make up material or examination is possible. Instructors have the right to deny these requests and may give a zero for an exam or assignment in the event of an unexcused absence.

You must also fill out the online student absence notification form after you have arranged with the instructors so that your absence is documented, although unexcused.

Student Leave Policy for Clinical Training

Only excused absences are allowed during clinical training. Again, there are two types of excused absences: one for expected absence of any type, and another for unexpected hardship (e.g., illness, injury, family death).

Clinical Absences, Planned (CAP days)

Students are allowed up to 5 days of planned excused absence (CAP days) during their entire clinical training (of course, this is in addition to scheduled blocks of time off and a day allotted to board examination and/or accreditation). Overall, a maximum of 2 CAP days during a three or more-credit hour rotation or a maximum of 1 CAP day during a two-credit hour rotation are allowed. Because rotations often include weekend and holiday duty, absence forms and appropriate permissions for weekend/holiday absences may be required; these would count against the total of 5 days allowed.

These CAP days can be used for any purpose but require instructor permission. A CAP Request form must be completed. Permission must be obtained from the course coordinator or instructional leader at least 4 weeks prior to the start of the clinical rotation during which the absence date will occur, and the CAP Request form should be completed at approximately the same time. It would be considered a courtesy to send a reminder email to the on-duty clinical instructor and technician a few days before the planned absence.

Board Examinations and Accreditation Day

Students planning to take National and/or State Board Examinations any time prior to graduation must submit a CAP Request form to the appropriate course coordinator at least four weeks prior to the beginning of the rotation in which the absence will occur, but ideally as soon as possible after scheduling. In the rare instance where functioning of a service could not be maintained due to the absence, the request may be denied and the student may have to reschedule the examination. A day off will be granted to those attending Accreditation Day events. These planned absences will not count against the five allowed CAP days, but any travel days will be counted toward the five days allowed.

Visiting Scholar Graduation

Students planning to attend graduation ceremonies at any of the visiting scholar schools (e.g, Ross, St. George, St. Matthews should submit a CAP Request form at least 4 weeks prior to the start of the clinical rotation during which the absence date will occur. The actual date of graduation will not count as one of the 5 allowed CAP days, but any absence for travel will be counted against the allowed days.

Clinical Absences, Unplanned

When unanticipated absence is necessary (e.g., illness), the student should notify their supervising clinician and technician by telephone and/or email as soon as possible so that case responsibility and duties can be reassigned. In addition, the Academic and Student Affairs office should be notified using the online Student Absence Notification form. More than one day of unplanned but excused absence per rotation may require additional assignments or time to be made up at a later date; a grade of incomplete may be assigned until the learning outcomes have been satisfactorily achieved. If multiple days are missed (e.g., a long illness), the rotation may need to be rescheduled entirely. A leave of absence may be appropriate in some such instances.