Absences

School of Dentistry Attendance Policy

DDS, DT, and DH Students - 2015-2016
REASON FOR POLICY

The School of Dentistry has the responsibility of preparing its students both academically and clinically for the practice of dentistry. Successful skill and knowledge based development requires continuous attendance in all classes, instructional sessions and participation in clinical assignments as designated by curriculum/clinical schedules. 

POLICY STATEMENT

School of Dentistry students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior in keeping with this attendance policy by attending all classes and/or clinics as indicated on their schedules.

Types of Approved Absences

Students may be approved for time off from class or clinic for several reasons. Details about each type of approved absence are further described under the related section.

     A. Excused Absences
     B. Family Leave
     C. Vacation*
     D. Personal Sessions*
     E. Student Selectives*

  • A. Excused Absences

    Student absences from class or clinic may be excused for the following reasons:

    1. Illness of the student or his or her dependent (1)
    2. Subpoenas
    3. Jury duty
    4. Military service
    5. Recognized religious holidays
    6. Family emergency
    7. Death in the family
    8. Participation in Mission of Mercy and state and national Lobby Days, as approved by an advisor (2)
    9. National Board Dental Examinations
    10. Official school business 

    If a student is absent due to circumstances identified above, the instructor may not penalize the student and must provide reasonable and timely accommodation or opportunity to make up exams or other course requirements that have an impact on the course grade (See U of M Administrative Policy: Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences: Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, Rochester).

    Students who plan to be absent due to circumstances identified above must submit a planned absence request, or a same-day absence request if appropriate, through myDentApps (students in clinic) or deliver paper requests (students not in clinic) to the Office of Student Affairs. Students must submit requests and notify instructors as far in advance as possible so that instructors have adequate time to make alternative arrangements.

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    (1) In the case of illness, students are required to submit a physician’s note if they are absent on the day of any graded course component (exams, quizzes, practicals, etc.) to the Director of Academic Services & Registrar (Lucy Hartel). Clinical faculty and administration also reserve the right to request a doctor’s note for any clinical session absence due to illness. A student with multiple absences due to illness may be scheduled to meet with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to discuss the situation, the impact on the student’s education and potential strategies for moving forward to ensure the student’s long-term success.

    (2) Reasons #8, #9, and #10 are not considered excused while students are scheduled on outreach. See the section on “Absences from Outreach” for more information.  

  • B. Family Leave

    The following absence policy applies to pregnant students, students who have pregnant spouses/partners, and students adopting children during enrollment:

    1. Three weeks (15 days) may be used by pregnant students, students who have pregnant spouses/partners, and students adopting children during enrollment. Time-off can be used any time during pregnancy, the adoption process, and for up to six months post-delivery/adoption.
       
    2. Family leave sessions are excused absences and may be used in conjunction with personal sessions and vacation weeks for students in clinic.
       
    3. Students absent due to family leave must submit planned absence requests through myDentApps (students in clinic) or paper requests (students not in clinic) as far in advance as possible and must also meet with the Director of Student Affairs (15-106 Moos Tower) prior to using this time. Students are responsible for notifying instructors of absences in advance so that instructors have adequate time to make alternative arrangements. Students are required to submit a doctor’s note if a provider determines it is medically necessary for a longer leave. The School will then work with the student to determine the best strategy for making up missed work and may offer alternative scheduling solutions to ensure long-term student success in the program.

    Per Department of Ed guidelines distributed during the summer of 2013, Title IX requires a school to excuse a student’s absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences to be medically necessary.

  • C. Vacation

    DDS students in their third and fourth year are permitted one week of vacation per year. DT students in their third year are permitted two weeks of vacation. Vacation must be taken in one-week blocks (5 consecutive days, Monday through Friday), and must be requested one semester in advance to the Clinical Systems scheduler using the form provided to students. Vacation must not be requested through myDentApps. Restrictions apply for when a student may take vacation; restrictions are clearly stated on the annual vacation request form provided.

  • D. Personal Sessions

    Personal sessions are absences from clinic for which the student has requested prior approval, per the Procedure: Planned & Same-Day Absence Requests for Students In Clinic. Personal sessions are only given to students who are in clinic. Personal sessions will not be approved for students on outreach, per the section on “Absences from Outreach” discussed later in this policy.

    DDS Students

    1. DDS students are allowed 14 personal sessions (14 half days or 7 full days) per academic year (i.e., beginning of summer semester to the end of spring semester). Personal sessions may only be taken for clinic sessions, NOT during class. 
       
    2. Students may earn up to 10 additional personal sessions (10 half days or 5 full days) each year by volunteering in clinic during breaks. These additional sessions are called “swap sessions.” Students may also earn and roll over additional swap sessions in cases of medical emergency or extenuating circumstances, if approved by the Office of Academic Affairs. 
       
    3. Students may roll over up to 10 personal or swap sessions from their third to fourth year. Students may not have a negative personal sessions balance unless approved by Student Affairs.
       
    4. Senior dental students using more than their accrued personal sessions and who are not able to make up sessions during breaks or finals week will be required to delay their graduation and be enrolled in the subsequent summer session to make up the missed sessions. The exact amount of sessions requiring attendance will be determined by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

    DT Students

    1. DT students are allowed 14 personal sessions (14 half days or 7 full days) during their entire program in clinic.

    DH Students

    1. DH students are allowed 6 personal sessions (6 half days or 3 full days) during their entire program in clinic.
       
    2. Personal sessions may only be taken for clinic sessions, NOT during class.
       
    3. Requests to use personal sessions during the last two weeks of the final semester in the program will not be honored (this does not include finals week). 
  • E. Student Selectives

    The student selectives policy applies only to DDS students who are in clinic. Students may apply for additional excused absences as student selectives. Student selectives are activities that enhance and support students’ educational experiences and goals. Some examples of potential selectives are:

    • Externships in accredited clinical residency/graduate programs
    • Formal involvement with organized dentistry activities or student groups (ASDA, MDA, HSDA, etc.)
    • Scholarship programs
    • Continuing dental education

    Faculty, staff and student members from the Student Affairs Committee will review each application and determine if a request for a student selective is approved or denied. Applications will be approved or denied based on:

    • Group leader recommendation and competency review board feedback.
    • Description of how the activity contributes to the student’s educational experience and goals.
    • Clear description of why the activity cannot be accommodated by seven personal days. Students do not need to wait until they have used their seven personal days to apply for selectives. Students are encouraged to apply as far in advance as possible for these excused absences.
    • Record of participation or leadership in school activities (depending on type of request).
    • If the selective conflicts with scheduled exams or practicals, the request will be denied.

    Students who are granted an excused selective activity must complete a brief paper describing their activities (this is already a requirement for students doing externships and certain kinds of volunteer courses). They will also be invited to do a brief (5 - 10 minute), informal presentation over the lunch hour to highlight their activities.

Other Attendance Information
  • Absences from Class

    Students who are absent from a lecture or laboratory class for an excused absence or family leave must submit a planned absence request in order to be offered make-up work. Students not in clinic must follow the “Procedure: Planned & Same-Day Absence Requests for Students Not In Clinic.” Students who are in both class and clinic must submit a request through myDentApps for all excused absences.

    If a student is absent from a lecture or laboratory class for a reason other than an excused absence or approved family leave, it is not necessary to submit a planned absence request. However, students with unexcused absences are personally responsible for any missed class content. Instructors are not required to offer make-up work (e.g., exams, quizzes, practicals, etc.) if a student’s absence is not excused.

  • Absences from Clinic Sessions

    Students are expected to be in school every day and readily accessible even when a patient is not scheduled as there may be need for them to assist with an emergency in clinic or other patient care.

    Students absent from clinic sessions must report all absences (excused, family leave, personal sessions, and student selectives), to ensure consistency in patient care. Students in clinic must follow the “Procedure: Planned & Same-Day Absence Requests for Students In Clinic.” Students who are in both class and clinic must submit a request through myDentApps for all excused absences. Requests for personal sessions must be submitted in myDentApps at least 10 days in advance. Requests submitted fewer than 10 days in advance may not be approved. Excused absences must be submitted in myDentApps at least 10 days in advance whenever possible. Instructors are not required to offer make-up work (e.g., exams, quizzes, practicals, etc.) if a student’s absence is not excused.

  • Absences from Outreach

    Personal sessions, schedule changes, or switches are NOT permitted during any outreach rotation as the outreach clinics view students’ daily participation as extremely vital to the operation of their clinics. Students are the dental providers and patients are scheduled based on students’ assignment to these clinics.

    Some excused absences are permitted, per the Board of Regents policy on absences:
    1) Illness of the student or his/her dependent;
    2) Subpoenas;
    3) Jury duty;
    4) Military service;
    5) Recognized religious holidays;
    6) Family emergency; and
    7) Death in the family

    If a student is unable to fulfill his or her outreach obligation due to any of reasons listed above, or in the event of a post-graduate interview, the student must follow the protocol for outreach detailed in the “Procedure: Planned & Same-Day Absence Requests for Students In Clinic.”

    All other planned absences must be requested prior to the student being scheduled for an outreach block. This is done by documenting the planned absences on the Student Outreach Questionnaire during spring semester (prior to starting outreach), or by informing Kathy Hughes of the planned absence prior to the semester schedule being released.

  • Recordkeeping & Remediation

    Records of submitted absence requests will be maintained by the Office of Academic Affairs. If a student fails to comply with the attendance policy, a written professional behavior report may be filed. This information will be reported to Scholastic Standing Committees as needed.

    Scholastic Standing Committees may review multiple absences of any student to determine whether the integrity and continuity of the student’s education has been compromised and make recommendations regarding remediation.

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  • Last modified on May 20, 2015