Purpose:

To set expectations and define requirements for student participation and attendance in Phase 1 as defined in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s “Definitions Statement” curriculum activities.

Policy:
  1. Students are required to attend certain learning activities including:
    1. Any session in which patients or standardized patients are physically present as part of the learning experience. If a student is not prepared for patient-related activities (e.g. is without required equipment, experience, or appropriate dress), the student will be asked to leave and counted as absent
    2. Clinical skills sessions involving real or standardized patients
    3. Small group sessions, including laboratory exercises
    4. Problem-based learning sessions
    5. Team-based learning sessions
    6. Clinical simulation sessions
    7. Assessment and examination sessions
  2. Students are required to attend sessions identified as required on the course calendar, even if they are not included in the list above (1).
  3. Students with a pattern of attendance that is inconsistent with the principles of this policy will be counseled by a faculty member or dean and may receive a Professionalism evaluation.
  4. During inclement weather, other emergencies, or anytime the University closes or cancels classes, Carle Illinois’ classroom-based classes will be cancelled.

Processes/Procedures/Guidelines: 

  1. Absence Requests
    • For all absence requests from required sessions, students must submit an online absence request form as far in advance as possible. Students who request an absence from a required session and are absent from the session without having received approval of their request will be considered to have an unexcused absence.
    • Documentation of circumstances necessitating the absence may be requested. Students will have five (5) business days to provide documentation.
    • Consistent with university Policy, examples of circumstances for which absences are often excused include:
      • Illness of a student, significant other, or immediate family member
      • Death of a family member
      • Student appointment with a health care professional
      • Religious holiday
      • Military service
      • Court date
      • Residency interview
  • If a student seeks an exemption to the Absence Policy, the Director of Curriculum will share the deidentified request with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs (or their designee). The Deans (or their designee/s) will review the request, and the student will be notified within seven business days.
  1. Minimum Request Requirements Include:
    • In the case of unexpected illness or emergency absences from required sessions, students must submit notification no later than 24 hours after the missed session. Students are encouraged to reach out to faculty as soon as possible to notify them of their absence.
    • For clinical skills sessions involving real or standardized patients, a request for a discretionary absence must be received a minimum of one week before the scheduled session.
  1. On-Time Arrival
    • Arrival time to required sessions may be monitored.
    • Students who arrive to sessions after the scheduled start time will be noted to be “tardy.”
    • In unusual circumstances (e.g., the previous classroom session ran over scheduled time) instructors may alter the definition of late arrival.
  1. Unexcused Absence
    • In particular situations, unexcused absence from a session may result in a student being responsible for any costs incurred in making up the session (e.g., for the cost of a standardized patient).
  1. Makeup Work
    • To meet the objectives of a missed session, students should review relevant learning materials, answer discussion questions, and consult with their classmates on specific content covered in the session.
    • For sessions with required make-up work, students must complete required make-up work within five business days, without reminders from course staff or faculty.
  1. Petitions for Required Sessions
    • Course directors, administrators, and college leaders may petition for lecture and large group, and other session types not listed as required above, to be identified as mandatory attendance sessions by submitting a proposal for required attendance to the Curriculum Oversight Committee. The course director should provide an educational rationale.
  1. Number of absences Within and Across Courses/Clerkships
    • Students may miss three (3) days of instruction within a course/clerkship (not including personal days).
    • Students may miss up to nine (9) days across multiple courses/clerkships and across all three curricular phases.
    • For the purposes of this policy, one or more absences from required sessions in a day constitute a single day of missed instruction within a course/clerkship.
    • Students who do not meet one or both of these two standards will be expected to meet with the Office of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs so that these Offices can evaluate the need for and develop a modified curriculum and assessment plan. Students may be required to take a leave of absence to address the underlying cause of the absences. If the absences are unexcused, students may earn an unsatisfactory grade for the course/clerkship(s). The student may also be asked to appear before the Student Progress and Promotions Committee.
  1. Phase I Personal Days
    • Medical students and future physician innovators are expected to regularly attend required class and fulfill obligations. However, it is noted, that on occasion, circumstances will arise that create conflicts between professional and personal responsibilities.

Section 8 describes pilot modifications to the attendance policy aimed at improving students’ well-being and work-life balance by providing personal days during Phase 1 of the curriculum. Personal days are designed to give students a limited number of days in which they may choose to be absent from class for reasons of their choice. Examples of personal days include but are not limited to: visiting friends/family, weddings, attending/presenting at a conference, or other special events.

Religious holidays are not counted against the Personal Day policy, however they are subject to additional review by Student and Academic Affairs. Additionally, military obligations do not count against this policy. Student are also permitted excused absences for funeral leave. For additional guidance, see section 1.3.

Because of concerns regarding this amendment to the policy, Section 8 should be viewed as a pilot amendment; it must be regularly reviewed and recertified. May 2021 has been selected as the finalization deadline.

  • Students are allowed up to four personal days in the first year of Phase 1 (before the end of the Digestion, Nutrition & Metabolism Course) and two personal days in the second year of Phase 1 before Winter Break. Personal days may not be applied to electives or Synthesis & Summary Course.
  • Students do not need to specify a reason for taking a Personal Day/Floating Holiday.
  • Students may not use more than 2 personal days per course. In the event of serious personal issue, the situation is expected to shift toward the current requested absence policy. Students must provide notice within 7 days of intended personal day.
  • Personal days must be approved to ensure that they do not occur during assessment activities which include OSCEs, NBME, or any other large examination that is on the calendar with an identified date. Students are responsible for making up missed work during personal days and administration will not redo learning activities for students taking personal days. Personal days are not permitted on days in which labs or IPE sessions are planned.
  • It is in everyone’s best interest to have collaborative and complete class sessions It is noted that some days may have higher volume of request. To address this:
    • A maximum of two students will be granted approved absences for PBL sessions. This means monitoring must take place so not all students take a personal day on the same day. This process will go as follows:
      • Students in PBL groups will ensure the minimum quota is met for each PBL session. Meaning on days with an expected high personal day request (around planned vacations such as Thanksgiving) the students will determine who gets what days approved.  This list will be submitted to academic affairs in advanced with reasonable timing.  It will be in the interest of students to decide these busy days well in advanced (for traveling arrangement purposes) and determine how to distribute the personal days.
    • This is a pilot program and will be reviewed by the COC on or before: December 2020 where the COC will evaluate the policy and vote to continue the pilot program for the Class of 2024.
      • Evaluation Data
        • Student well-being as indicated on CICOM student survey.
        • Analysis of requests for absences and missed time.
        • PBL Facilitator impressions.
        • Clerkship director impressions.