UM today | The new student absence policy will come into effect in the fall term 2022

June 24, 2022 —

Beginning in the fall term, the University of Manitoba will approach short and temporary student absences differently. While students were usually required to produce a medical note or other documentation to justify a missed assignment, test or exam, students will now be asked to complete a self-declaration form instead.

The reasons for this policy shift are manifold. Sometimes extenuating circumstances are beyond the student’s control, such as a medical event or family emergency, or students may be required to miss class due to religious observance or approved school or athletic events. In these cases, asking a student to provide a medical note, death certificate, or other documentation only adds time, stress, and cost to what might already be a difficult situation. Requiring medical notes also ties up our health care system and exposes students to others who may be sick when requesting their documentation. This was part of the rationale for the Senate’s decision to temporarily suspend the requirement for medical notes during the pandemic and ultimately approve the new policy and procedure beginning in September 2022.

“We hope our students will use this option in good faith,” says Laurie Schnarr, Vice Provost (Students). “They are still required to complete missed work, it just eliminates the need for students to justify their brief absences when extenuating circumstances arise. This time is best spent studying or catching up on missed schoolwork.

A similar policy has been in effect for years at the Rady School of Health Sciences College of Nursing. Marie Edwards, former Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, College of Nursing, says: “The self-reporting approach for student absences has worked very well, with the added benefit of reducing the burden on the system. health with student grade requests for short absences. . If students miss a test or an assignment deadline, they know they’ll have to catch up or complete the work in a timely manner. »

How will this work?

  • Self-declaration forms are valid documents for students to use for missed tests, exams, or assignments, and instructors are required to make reasonable academic arrangements based on course outlines.
  • This new policy aims to make things easier for students facing situations requiring an absence of up to 72 hours.
    • Extenuating circumstances include illnesses and medical conditions, humanitarian/personal needs, religious observances, bereavement, and attendance at approved academic or athletic events.
  • Students do not need to share personal information about their situation beyond declaring the nature of the extenuating circumstance on the self-declaration form.
  • The self-declaration form cannot be used for planned absences such as vacations. It also should not be used for longer-term absences or ongoing circumstances such as authorized withdrawals, furloughs or disability-related accommodations, which will always require additional documentation.
  • UM expects students to complete the form in good faith. False statements are considered an attack on academic integrity and may result in disciplinary action.

A web page that will contain more details on the policy and procedure as well as the form will be posted later this summer. If instructors have questions or concerns about the policy, please contact your unit management.

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