Sick university students have been given a temporary reprieve from exams and classes, after a recent decision by administrators to weather the H1N1 pandemic.
University of Alberta officials agreed Monday to excuse all absences of students claiming to have flu-like symptoms without a doctor’s note, and confirmed they’ve adopted the “honour system” in place of traditional procedure.
“There’s always a chance that a student might not be prepared for an exam and cheat the system,” the Students' Union VP of student life Nick Dehod said. “Though, it’s not in their self-interest to get behind in their classes.”
He said though doctor’s confirmation has been abolished, professors are keeping a close eye on students for possible abuse of the new system.
Upon opening H1N1 vaccination clinics across the province Monday, Alberta Health Services officials asked employers to stop asking for doctor’s confirmation, so as not to clog the health-care system.
A similar policy has been in practice at MacEwan University all semester.
“There may be individuals who take advantage, but … our main concern is the health and safety of our students,” MacEwan spokesman David Beharry said, adding students inform teachers of absences online.
Teachers at both institutions have prepared for higher absentee rates, and will let students make up missed time without academic penalty.
U of A officials are urging all students with flu-like symptoms to battle the sickness in solitude.
“It’s important that students self-isolate, stay at home and away from the community,” Dehod said.
All students who spoke with Metro yesterday confirmed they’ve been noticing more empty desks, and each know at least one or two others out sick.
Correction - Oct. 28, 2009, 9:58 am MST: A previous
version of this story contained incorrect information. Nick Dehod is a representative for the University of Alberta's Students' Union, not the university itself. Metro regrets the error.