Until further notice students should:
1/ Self-declare an absence on Quest if they have or suspect they have influenza-like illness.
2/ Obtain a verification of illness form (VIF) for other conditions or those lasting more than 14 days and send a high-quality scan or picture to firstname.lastname@example.org while the Science Undergraduate Office staff work remotely.
3/ Note the following advice:
-A self-declaration on Quest is its own absence category, neither moderate nor severe, as described below. Students' disengagement across their courses should be consistent in an absence period. Inconsistent behaviour risks an allegation of misrepresentation in the same manner as with a moderate or severe VIF.
-Any questions about what to do or your specific situation, please ask! Email email@example.com.
The remaining information on this page (August 2019 update, information below) is published for reference and review as needed.
As a student, you may encounter situations such as significant illnesses, ongoing medical conditions, or other circumstances that prevent you from meeting academic obligations.
The Accommodations section of the Undergraduate Calendar will provide an overview for accommodation, while the process below addresses the specifics for students taking Faculty of Science courses.
On this page
Last updated August 2019
The Verification of Illness Form (PDF) is used by instructors to make accommodation decisions for missed mandatory assessments (labs, quizzes, midterms, final exams, etc.). Instructors will consider VIFs issued by the University of Waterloo's Campus Wellness Services (Health Services and Counselling Services), when this service is open.
If a student cannot access Campus Wellness Services, whether it is open or closed, these are their options:
Health or Counselling Services is closed or at capacity, the student is out of town, or the student is receiving ongoing care from a family physician or specialist
Obtain documentation from Campus Wellness Services first, and if not attainable, then a health care provider. The following information must be included: date of physician assessment, dates of illness, degree of incapacitation, whether the diagnosis was made by physician or based on a description by student, physician information (including CPSO registration number)
If any information is missing, accommodation decisions will usually be delayed because the student will need to have physician complete missing information.
Health condition is managed by a non-physician (e.g. nurse) or specialist (e.g. dentist, optometrist)
Obtain documentation from health care provider. The following information must be included: date of assessment, date range of and degree of incapacitation, official or verified clinic/specialist information (including practitioner registration number).
The above information is important to instructors who need clear guidance on making accommodation decisions.
The VIF indicates the determination by a care provider (normally a physician) of the degree of incapacitation for a given period of time. Instructors will determine what accommodation, if any, they will provide. When making these decisions, instructors may consider VIF information (i.e., date; incapacitation severity and period) or the circumstances; and the student’s actions (i.e., when the student notified the instructor and submitted the VIF/other supporting documents to the Science Undergraduate Office). The course outline should provide guidance regarding how missed course elements are normally addressed.
Students must discuss the VIF-specified degree of incapacitation with their instructors so that their actions are not misinterpreted or viewed with suspicion. For example:
- A “severe” incapacitation indicates students are unable to engage in any academic studies during the period indicated. If they attend classes/labs, submit assignments/reports or write tests/exams during this period, they are at risk of being accused of “misrepresentation”; an academic offence, which carries a severe penalty that normally includes suspension.
Instructors have the authority to determine whether a VIF indicating "moderate" incapacitation will be accommodated. Students should review their course outline to see if any guidance is provided. In the absence of stated course rules, students should consider the following:
- Tests and exams are not to be written during the incapacitation period of a "moderate" VIF
- Misconduct/misrepresentation will not normally be alleged if a student inconsistently participates in other course elements such as assignments, quizzes, labs, and lecture attendance/participation during the VIF "moderate" incapacitation period.
All documentation must be submitted in-person, by the student, and no one else. Following Policy 46, advisors in the SUO cannot engage in the detailed discussions that are required with anyone but the student.
Multiple VIFs submitted for a term could result in a meeting with the Science Student Success Officer to discuss and resolve barriers to academic success.
Submitting VIF for Illness
- Contact the course instructor (e.g. by email) before or within 24 hours of a test, exam or due date, AND
- Submit the completed Verification of Illness Form (PDF) form within 48 hours of the missed course element, if they are well enough to do so (e.g. not coughing) to the location that applies:
- Undergraduate science students taking Science and/or Math courses, and students from all other faculties (except Math) taking any Science course: Science Undergraduate Office (SUO); students should contact the SUO by phone (519-888-4567 x35244) or email if unable to meet this deadline due to continuing illness.
- Pharmacy students: PHR 2004; students should contact Becky Ewan if they have questions.
- Optometry students: OPT 301; students should contact Marie Amodeo if they have questions.
- Once the VIF has been registered with the SUO, students must bring a copy of the VIF to the meeting with their instructor(s) to discuss their situation.
- Students whose illness delays them submitting a VIF should communicate via email or phone to avoid delays or difficulties with accommodation decisions. Students should also refer to course outlines for course-specific information or requirements and review the Incomplete (INC) grade process below for more information.
- Students should be aware that when a VIF is registered in the SUO, all of their Science (i.e., course subjects: BIOL, CHEM, EARTH, MNS, PHYS, SCI, and SCBUS) and Math (i.e. course subjects: ACTSC, AMATH, CO, COMM, CS, MATH, MTHEL, PMATH, STAT) instructors will be notified.
Submitting documentation for other extenuating circumstances
- Gather supporting documentation. The supporting documentation will be considered in a similar manner to a VIF. Official documentation is necessary before any action can be taken. Examples are: plane/train/bus tickets, court documents, police reports, death certificates/obituaries/letters from funeral directors, counsellor letters.
- Contact their instructor(s) notifying them of the situation.
- Submit original copies of the documentation to the Science Undergraduate Office when able to do so.
- Come to an agreement with their instructor regarding how any missed mandatory class, lab, assignment, test or exam will be addressed.
Students who have been absent from classes for two weeks or longer, whether by illness or extenuating circumstances, should follow-up with their individual instructors and their academic advisor to assess whether their schedule of lectures or labs is still viable. For example, some students cannot complete a lab course, no matter the circumstances, if multiple labs have been missed.
If students cannot directly submit their VIF or other documentation within 48 hours, a copy of the document should be submitted by email, until the original can be submitted. Instructors will make their accommodation decision once the original copy has been submitted.
The Incomplete (INC) grade process begins when students contact their course instructors to discuss an INC grade as a possibility. This discussion with the instructor addresses the student’s circumstances, supporting documentation, missed or unfinished course elements, and the student’s engagement in the course up to that point in the term.
Failure to write scheduled make-up tests or submit outstanding course work by the end of the instructor-specified lapse period will result in a final course grade being posted to Quest that is the earned grade, based on all completed course element(s). If the course outline specifies that the missing coursework is required to pass the course, the lesser of the earned grade or 4% less than the passing grade will be posted to Quest.
Make-up exams are considered formally scheduled events and must occur within one year of the official grade date for that course. If students experience a situation that caused them to miss a make-up exam, they must meet with the Student Success Officer or Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, who will review the documentation. An alternate make-up exam may not be approved.