FAQs for Students
Who is Affected
Is the Student Declaration of Absence Form available in all courses?
The Student Declaration of Absence (SDA) form will be available in some courses, but not all courses. It is up to the instructor to decide if they will implement the form for their course(s).
You are required to confirm if the SDA form option is available to you by checking with your instructor(s) or referring to your faculty, college, school, instructor-specific, or course-specific syllabi and guidelines, and work-integrated learning handbook policies.
Does the regulation apply to all faculties?
The Faculties of Medicine, Law, Dentistry and the College of Pharmacy are officially exempt from the new regulation and will not be using the SDA forms.
Please note the School of Journalism at the University of King's College has a separate Student Declaration of Absence Form.
The Faculty of Engineering has a separate student absence reporting system. Please visit forms.engineering.dal.ca for details and to submit a request
I already have an accessibility plan that allows for course deferrals or deadline extensions. Do I still need to submit the SDA form for missed or late academic requirements?
No. You are not required to submit a SDA form if you have a pre-existing accessibility plan.
Understanding the SDA Form and Regulation
What is the Student Declaration of Absence form and how does it work?
The SDA form functions the same as a sick note. For absences of three days or fewer that result in missed or late academic requirements, you may submit the form instead of obtaining a sick note from a health professional.
Can my professor make exceptions to the regulation and acceptance of the Student Declaration of Absence form?
Instructors who choose to implement the SDA in their courses may arrange alternate coursework, tests, etc. for missed or late academic requirements.
Your instructor may also approve exceptions to the new regulation and the SDA form to support students in successful completion of academic requirements. Faculties, colleges, and schools may approve changes to absence reporting timelines, the number of self-declaration of absence submissions, and to methods for providing absence information.
You are required to confirm if the self-declaration of absence option is available by checking with your instructor(s) or referring to your faculty, college, school, instructor-specific, or course-specific syllabi and guidelines, and work-integrated learning handbook policies.
Does this regulation mean that Student Health and Wellness will never write a sick note for a student?
Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness will only provide sick notes or medical certificates to students for short-term absences in the following cases:
- A student’s Faculty or instructor is not using the “Student Absence Regulation”,
- The missed or late academic requirement is considered final coursework, or
- The test or exam falls within the last two weeks of an academic term.
Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness professional counsellors will only provide a sick note or medical certificate for short-term absences in the above cases and if a student is a current client receiving ongoing counselling.
Students are encouraged to stay at home if they have a communicable illness (such as flu-like symptoms) that is manageable at home to prevent further spread of illness to other students, staff or instructors.
For long-term absences, Dalhousie Student Health Services and/or Counselling Services will only provide documentation for students who have been under the care of a physician, registered nurse, social worker, psychologist, counsellor, or psychiatrist during the period of absence and/or for management of long-term or chronic physical or mental health conditions.
In addition, the SDA form cannot be used for any final coursework or exams and students must follow faculty, college, school, instructor-specific, or course-specific syllabi and guidelines, and work-integrated learning handbook policies.
Is the Student Declaration of Absence Form available in additional languages for International student reference?
Submitting the SDA Form
How can I submit the form?
If applicable to your course, you can submit the form in-person, via email or through Brightspace, provided your instructor has set it up in your course.
If I submit the form, do I still need to follow up with my instructor?
Yes. You must contact your instructor by phone or email prior to the academic requirement deadline. You should then fill out the form and submit it to your instructor in-person, via email or through Brightspace, provided your instructor has set it up in your course.
How many times can I submit the form?
You can submit a maximum of two separate Student Declaration of Absence forms per course during a term. Note: Faculty, College, School, instructor or course-specific guidelines may set a lower maximum.
If you have recurring short-term or long-term absences, you are strongly encouraged to meet your Faculty or Declared Major Advisor or your Faculty Program Coordinator.
If you need Academic or Health & Wellness Support, you can also refer the resources below: