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Attendance Policy

An essential part of the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt curriculum takes place through collaborative learning. While independent work and/or research is vital, it is equally important to meet with and engage in discussions with scientists, visit labs and other research facilities, participate in class activities and discussions, and be exposed to other peoples’ ideas and knowledge. For this reason, attendance and participation in class is crucial and will impact student performance.

Students and their parents/guardians should understand that absences, whether excused or unexcused, can significantly affect class grades. It is important to realize that one day’s attendance at the SSMV is the equivalent of one week’s attendance in a course attended daily. Successful students are seldom absent.

Students are expected to be in class, prepared to participate in the activities of the day by 8:00 a.m. Class will begin promptly at 8:00 a.m. Tardies and absences must be reported by the beginning of class or as soon as possible.

During the school year, students will not be excused to miss more than one class each semester for non-emergency or non-illness related reasons. Due to the accelerated nature of summer courses, students cannot miss more than one day of the Research I or Research II course, and any summer absences must be limited to illness, emergency, or religious observation.

Tardiness (Excused and Unexcused)

Students have a responsibility to arrive on time. An unexcused tardy occurs when a student is not in their seat ready for class to begin by 8:00 a.m. without an acceptable excuse. Consequences for tardiness include grade penalties. If traffic delays or other unexpected occurrences will delay a student’s arrival, parents/guardians should alert the SSMV as soon as possible.

Unless as part of a supervised SSMV event, students are expected to remain on campus during the SSMV school day. This includes during lunch break (11:30-12:00) and the optional study hall period (2:30-4:30).

Excused Absences

To excuse an absence, a student’s parent/guardian must notify the SSMV of the student’s absence (in writing or by phone) no later than 8:00 a.m. on the class day missed. Parents/guardians may request an excused absence for the following reasons:

  • Personal illness
  • Illness of an immediate family member
  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Verified medical or dental appointments*
  • Verified legal proceedings
  • Observance of a religious holiday
  • Approved zone school-sponsored or zone school- related activities**
  • Absence for other reasons will be excused at the discretion of faculty/administration

* We strongly encourage parents to schedule appointments after school hours. If it is impossible to obtain a doctor or dentist appointment other than during school hours, parents/guardians must notify the SSMV prior to the day in question that the student will be withdrawn early from class.

** Students choosing to prioritize other activities during SSMV class time must notify the SSMV no later than one week in advance of the event. Otherwise, the absence may be unexcused.

Students who leave class early, for any reason, will be required to complete a makeup assignment.

Make-up Work

Instructors will allow students to make up work due to excused absences only. Two weeks from the date of absence will be granted for the make-up of one day’s excused absence. Students are expected to take the initiative in asking Instructors for make-up work. Because of the unique nature of the SSMV curriculum, Instructors will need to create assignments that will most closely relate to the missed activities. Any work that is not made-up in accordance with these procedures will receive no credit. As one day’s attendance at the SSMV is the equivalent of one week’s attendance in a course attended daily; the loss of credit for one day will have a significant effect on the student’s grade.

Unexcused Absences

Unexcused absences are those absences where the student fails to attend class and the parent or guardian fails to notify the SSMV in accordance with the required attendance procedures. Students may not make up work for credit due to unexcused absences.

Summer Attendance

Each summer session (Research I, II and III) is worth one honors course credit. In order to earn a full credit and continue in the program students are required to attend class during the summers after their freshman, sophomore and junior years. SSMV students may only miss one day of class during the summer due to excused absences (illness, emergency, religious observation) and absences will not be excused for extra-curricular conflicts or other family commitments. Failure to abide by this policy may result in the student losing course credit due to a lack of summer contact hours.

Attendance and COVID

Students should arrive healthy and self-monitor for any concerning symptoms while on campus. If a student feels ill on campus, parents will be contacted immediately and the student will wait in an isolated area near the classroom until they can be picked up. Students who are feeling ill must not attend SSMV and instead should contact to report their absence and request make-up work. In the instance of a positive case within the SSMV, we will report to the VU COVID Command Center who may instigate contact tracing. Please communicate with us if your child becomes ill following time at SSMV or their home high school.

In line with MNPS procedures this fall, we will not be able to offer a virtual option if in-person classes are being held. In the case that MNPS returns to virtual learning, SSMV will also return to virtual learning. These procedures follow guidance from both of our partner organizations and may change if either VU or MNPS updates their guidelines.

COVID-related absences (either for illness or quarantine) from the SSMV are excused.

School Administration reserves the right to modify these policies.

Updated: 08/17/2021