Excused Absence for Mental Health

Alyssa Henry, Contributing Writer

Some professors at Bloomsburg University are considering adjusting their longstanding attendance policies due to mental health, and menstruation as well as Covid-19.

There are many Bloomsburg University professors who use the University’s excused/unexcused attendance policy. Then there are others who use the University’s policy as well as give their own policy, or no policy at all.

Dr. Anne Stuart has recently been reconsidering her policy with absences becoming more frequent. Stuart currently upholds the University’s policy. Mental health is one of Stuart’s main reasons for revising her policy due to the increasing stress/pressure student’s find themselves under. Stuart also mentioned that as long as she is kept in the loop about absences for mental health and periods, a plan can be worked out and unexcused absences will decrease.

Professor Jerry Wemple explained that he has an attendance policy but has been flexible due to Covid. If he is notified by a student who is dealing with a mental health decrease, he references resources that the students can look into for help.

Jennifer LaBar, an early childhood education major, has never been diagnosed with any mental illness, but like anyone else still has days that are worse than others. For her she has never personally needed to take an absence for her mental health nor a period. Most of her professors have given a specific number of days that could go unexcused and then you would need to have notes to have an excused absent.

“I find this ridiculous. Sure, there will be some days where students just don’t want to go to class, but if it is more than one or two times, there has to be something wrong,” LaBar stated in her interview.

Then there are students like Abby Pero, majoring in Secondary Education English and minoring in Spanish, and Meg Yamrich, majoring in English with a creative writing focus, who both suffer from diagnosed mental illnesses.

Pero has been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD as well as suffers from very intense periods. Before she received an IUD, intrauterine device, and was given the correct medication, her illness and periods were the main reasons for her missing classes. Until June of this year she went undiagnosed, which would cause for no notes for her absences.

Yamrich has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression which, even with medication, still causes days where she can’t attend class. Some of her professors have excused her absences and others have not.