Under Title IX, your institution must excuse your absence related to pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion so long as your doctor says the absence is medically necessary.
Your school’s medical or disability leave policy and/or maternity leave policy may provide leave for time periods even longer than what is medically necessary. Before your due date approaches, check with your advisor or health center about your leave options.
If your professor requires other students who have “excused” absences to provide a doctor’s note, they can ask you to provide one as well. Be sure your doctor clearly states that the absence is/was medically necessary.
Under Title IX, you must be permitted to resume your studies in the same status you had before your absence. That means you cannot be penalized for your absence, even if you have missed more class than the professor’s typical policies allow. Your professors must also allow you to make up any missed credit, including participation credit, quizzes, papers, or exams. Making up work may mean completing the assignments during the semester, or you may need to take an incomplete and complete the assignments later.
Samantha gave birth in the last week of classes, and missed her final exam. Samantha’s doctor advised her that recovery is likely to take at least 6 weeks. Because she was not able to make up the exam before the next semester, Samantha’s professor marked her grade as “incomplete.” When she has recovered, Samantha takes the exam, the incomplete is removed from her transcript, and she receives full credit for the course.
Janet needed to miss a class to have and recover from an abortion. She provided a doctor’s note stating she needed to miss a class for a medical appointment and medically necessary recovery time. Janet’s professor marks her absence as excused, and she is allowed to make up her missed participation credits for the day by doing an extra post on her class discussion board.
Chantal's doctor advised her to pump breastmilk on a more frequent schedule because of a breast infection. To be able to pump, she will have to leave class a few minutes early this week. Chantal’s professor doesn’t require other students who leave class early to provide notes, so Chantal doesn’t have to provide a note.
If your professor does not immediately excuse your absence, here are some tips:
Although you must be permitted to return from medically-necessary leave, the administrative process for doing so isn’t always simple, and leave your university provides in addition to what is medically necessary may have its own rules. Here are some important things to keep in mind to ask your adviser when preparing for a lengthy leave (a whole semester, or any leave requiring withdrawal):