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University of Manitoba Takes a Monumental Step Towards Student Rights

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The University of Manitoba has introduced a new student absence policy for extenuating circumstances to begin in Fall term 2022

Beginning Fall term 2022, University of Manitoba (UM) students will not need to submit a medical note or other documentation for missing an assignment, test, or exam. UM students will now be required to complete a self-declaration form instead.

Though much of the policy change rationale stems from the fact that it has been evident that requiring medical or other supporting documentation to justify an absence, missed assignment, or test adds to more stress for a student during an already difficult time that is outside of their control. Instead of trying to compile supporting documentation, students should be using their valuable time, effort, and energy towards completing their missed schoolwork and studying.

UMNews shared how “the requirement for medical notes also ties up our healthcare system and exposes students to others who may be ill when seeking their documentation” and how this also played a role in the University of Manitoba Senate to have temporarily removed the medical documentation as a requirement during the pandemic and now, to approve this policy permanently beginning Fall 2022.

“We trust our students will use this option in good faith. They are still required to complete the missed work; it eliminates the need for students to justify their brief absences when extenuating circumstances arise. That time is better spent studying or making up missed schoolwork”, said Laurie Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) at the University of Manitoba.

How will this process work?

  • Students will be required to submit a self-declaration form for missed assignments, tests or exams and instructors will need to make reasonable accommodations for the student depending on the course
  • Students may also use the self-declaration form for extenuating circumstances which may require an absence of up to 72 hours
    • This may include illness and medical-related conditions, compassionate/personal needs, religious obligations, bereavement, participation in approved academic or athletic events
  • Students will be brief about this situation and do not need to share personal information should they not wish to
  • False self-declaration forms will be considered a breach of academic integrity

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