Attendance

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Absences from School

A student must provide (within 3 days of an absence, or if the student has several continuous absences, within 3 days after the student's return to school) a written excuse from a parent, guardian or health practitioner for ALL absences other than those approved by the principal for a school-sponsored activity.

PLEASE NOTE: If an excuse is received after the 3-day limit, the absence(s) will remain recorded as unexcused on the student's attendance record. It does not matter whether the excuse was written by the parent or by a licensed/certified health practitioner; it will remain unexcused if submitted after the 3-day deadline. The excuse will be placed in the student's file for information but the student's attendance record will not change. Therefore, it is very important to meet the 3-day deadline.

A valid excuse must:

- include the date,

- list the student's full name,

- contain the date(s) of the absence(s),

- list the reason for the absence(s),

- list a telephone number of the parent (if needed for verification), and

- include the signature of the parent/guardian or a licensed/certified health practitioner.

 

Once a student has accumulated 5 full-day absences in an A-B (8 period) schedule or 10 absences in a 6/7 period schedule -- regardless of the reason -- the principal may require an excuse from a licensed/certified health practitioner for any further absence

That is, no parent-written notes will be accepted to excuse an absence after the student has accrued the 5th or 10th absence.


 If a death in the family occurs after the 10th day, an obituary notice must be provided to the school in order for that day(s) to be excused.

 

With approval from the principal, students may be absent for a portion of the school day or the entire day for school-sponsored activities such as field trips, academic competitions, athletic events or other extracurricular activities. The school will not count the student absent from class/school in such cases.

A student who has more than 2 absences in a 20-day course, 3 absences in a 45-day course, 5 absences in a 90-day course, or 10 absences in a 180-day course may not be eligible to receive credit for that course. Students who do not meet the attendance requirement may appeal to the school's Attendance Appeals Committee for consideration.

State attendance regulations require school personnel to conduct a Student Attendance Intervention Conference for every student who accumulates 3 consecutive unexcused absences or a total of 5 unexcused absences. At the conference, the parent or guardian and school personnel will address ways to correct and/or improve the issues.

Student Absences and Excuses – Policy JH

Purpose: To establish the basic structure for allowing and excusing student absences.

As defined by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a chronically absent student is absent a minimum of 10 percent of the enrollment period – for any reason (e.g., suspension, illness-excused or unexcused). According to the OCR, an absent student is one who misses 50 percent of the instructional day for any reason (excused or unexcused).

The board believes that attendance is a key factor in student achievement. Any absence from school represents an educational loss to the student. However, the board recognizes that some absences are unavoidable. 

In order to receive one Carnegie unit of credit, a student must be in attendance at least 120 hours, per unit, regardless of the number of days missed. The board may grant approval of excessive absences in accordance with board policy.

The district will utilize a written intervention plan for improving student attendance. The purpose of the plan will be to link students with attendance problems and their families to all appropriate school and community resources.

The board recognizes that truancy is primarily an educational issue and will take all reasonable, educationally sound and corrective actions prior to resorting to the juvenile justice system. Parents are expected to make every reasonable effort to have their child in school on time daily.

Student Attendance Regulations

Elementary/Middle school

The school will record student attendance on a daily basis. A student must attend a minimum of 170 days to be considered for promotion unless exempted by the special consideration conditions.

Secondary high school credit

In each class, a student must attend a minimum of 85 days (6/7 period schedule) or 42 days (eight period schedule) in a semester course and 170 days (6/7 period schedule) or 85 days (eight period schedule) in a year course before receiving consideration for credit and/or promotion.

Excuses - All Students

A student must give the school, within three school days of her/his return to school, a written excuse from a parent/legal guardian or health practitioner involved in the student’s care for all absences.

All absences require a written explanation from the parent/guardian within three (3) school days of return from the absence. Written explanation of absences must include the student's name, parent/guardian's full name, date(s) of absence(s), documentation of the reason for absence, and a parent/guardian's signature. All documentation required by the school is subject to review and must be approved by the principal.

Absences in excess of ten days per year will not be considered excused with a parent/guardian note unless they are accompanied by official medical or legal documentation.

Definitions/Explanations

Tardiness

Students are expected to arrive at school on time and to report to each class on time. Students who enter a classroom late are disruptive to the instructional program and may be subject to disciplinary actions. Habitually tardy students may be referred to the attendance officer.

Minimum day in school

As defined by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a chronically absent student is absent a minimum of 10 percent of the enrollment period – for any reason (e.g., suspension, illness-excused or unexcused). According to the OCR, an absent student is one who misses 50 percent of the instructional day for any reason (excused or unexcused).

In elementary school, a student who misses a portion of a school day for any reason will be counted absent if he/she misses school for a minimum of 50% of the school day.  The student will not get credit en route to perfect attendance if he or she misses more than 50% of the day.

In middle and high school, attendance is based on class periods. For example, if a student attends five of seven periods, he/she is marked present in five and absent in two. This student would be marked present for the day based on the 50% OCR definition.  If the student attends three of seven periods, he or she is marked present in three and absent in four.  THIS student is marked absent for the day based on the OCR definition.

If the middle and high school students’ daily attendance reflect an absence, the student will not credit for the day en route to perfect attendance. If a student is absent for 50% of that class period, he or she is considered absent for that class period.

The following definitions pertain to absences:

Lawful absences shall include but are not limited to:

  • absences caused by a student's own illness and whose attendance in school would endanger his or her health and the health of others; the principal shall require a physician's certificate from the parent/legal guardian of a student reported continuously absent for illness.
  • absences due to an illness or death in the student's immediate family
  • absences due to a recognized religious holiday of the student's faith

Unlawful Absences include but are not limited to:

  • absences of a student without the knowledge of his/her parents/legal guardians
  • absences of a student without acceptable cause with the knowledge of his/her parents/legal guardian

Medical homebound instruction

Parents/Legal guardians who anticipate a student’s absence due to an extended health problem should apply immediately for medical homebound instruction. The school will not count the student on medical homebound instruction as absent. The student should attend all scheduled homebound session in lieu of attending school during the approved period. Any missed homebound instructional time may result in an attendance intervention plan.

Participation in After-School Activities

No student who misses any portion of a school day unlawfully shall be permitted to participate later that day or evening in any extracurricular or school-sponsoredor authorized or related school activity.

School-sponsored activities

With approval from the principal, students may be absent for a portion of the school day or the entire day for school-sponsored activities such as field trips, academic competitions, athletic events, or other extracurricular activities. The school will not count the student absent from class/school in such cases.

Interventions/Make-Up

When students have three consecutive unlawful or a total of five unlawful absences, the school will contact the parents/legal guardians and develop a plan to improve attendance.

The plan for improving a student’s attendance will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • reasons for unlawful absence
  • methods to resolve cause of unlawful absence
  • actions to be taken in the event unlawful absences continue
  • signature of parent/legal guardian or evidence that an attempt has been made to involve parent/legal guardian (phone call, letter, etc.)

When the number of unlawful absences reaches four (six or seven-period schedule) or two (eight-period schedule) in a semester course or eight (six or seven-period schedule) or four (eight-period schedule) in a yearly course, the school’s attendance counselor will send a letter on behalf of the board to the parents/legal guardians as a reminder of the student’s potential loss of credit for additional absences.

Referrals and judicial intervention

The district will not refer a child age six to 17 years to the family court to be placed on an order to attend school prior to the written intervention plan being completed by the school with the parent/legal guardian. The district will not use a consent order from any local school or district as an intervention plan.

Refusal by the parent/legal guardian to cooperate with school intervention planning can result in a referral of the student to family court and the filing of a report against the parent/legal guardian with social services in accordance with law.

The district will inform the parent/legal guardian and/or the student of their right to have legal representation and their right to a trial at this time.

If the situation continues to where the student is classified as a habitual truant, school officials may file a petition for a school attendance order. Once a school attendance order has been issued by the family court and the student continues to accumulate absences to the point of becoming a chronic truant, school officials may refer the case back to family court. The school and district will exhaust all reasonable alternatives prior to petitioning the family court to hold the student and/or parent/legal guardian in contempt of court.

Transfer to another school

If a student transfers to another public school in South Carolina, intervention plans shall be forwarded to the receiving school. School officials will contact the parent(s)/guardian(s) and local team members to review the plan and revise as appropriate. Court ordered plans may be amended through application to the court.

Make-Up Work

Students whose absences are approved should be allowed to make up any work missed in order to satisfy the 120-hour requirement. Examples of make-up work that address both time and academic requirements of a course may include the following:

  • after-school and/or weekend make-up programs
  • extended-year programs

All make-up time and work must be completed within 30 days from the last day of the course.

  1. Provision for make up of school work missed during lawful absences shall be worked out with the teacher(s) concerned at the earliest time possible, but should not exceed five (5) school days after the student returns to school.
  2. Make up of school work missed during unlawful absences may be approved only with permission of the principal after consultation with the teacher(s) concerned.
  3. These Procedures for Make-up Work apply to all schools in the district.
  4. In addition to the above, each school will develop procedures to handle absences consistent with the following:
    1. The status of all student absences shall be communicated to the teacher(s) concerned within three (3) days of the student's return to school.
    2. Student absences for school activities or college visitation may be excused by the principal. The effect that the student’s absence has on his or her education should be taken into consideration when decisions are made with regard to individual student class absences for school activities.
    3. Each school will review its procedures for dealing with absences on an annual basis and make appropriate adjustments consistent with this administrative rule. Each school will also place its plan for dealing with absences in its student handbook (if applicable) and communicate this plan to parents/guardians through newsletters or other means early in the school year.

School principals will exert every realistic effort to provide assurance that this regulation is adhered to in a fair and consistent manner. Principals will place special emphasis on coordinating implementation affecting students within the same family.

Special Considerations

Students suspended out-of-school (lawful absence) have the right to take all major tests and semester examinations without penalty. Make-up work will follow procedures determined at the school level. A suspended student cannot be penalized by an academic reduction of grades.

Each principal will establish an attendance appeals committee at the school-site level to hear appeals from students who have six (six or seven-period schedule) or three (eight-period schedule) or more lawful absences for a semester course or have 11 (six or seven-period schedule) or six (eight-period schedule) or more absences from a yearly course. Five professional personnel appointed by the principal will be on this committee. The appeals committee will conduct hearings within five days of the end of each semester. The appeals committee will make recommendations to the principal to grant or to deny promotion or credit. The principal will be the final authority at the school level.  Due process is served by this procedure.

Students and their parents/legal guardians may apply for exemption to the attendance requirements because of extended or chronic illnesses that are certified by a physician or emergency conditions that are approved by the principal.

The classroom teacher has the primary responsibility for recording attendance accurately and monitoring make-up work. 

As defined by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a chronically absent student is absent a minimum of 10 percent of the enrollment period – for any reason (e.g., suspension, illness-excused or unexcused). According to the OCR, an absent student is one who misses 50 percent of the instructional day for any reason (excused or unexcused).

 

Truancy

A student who is absent from school or any class without permission may be subject to disciplinary action (i.e. detention, suspension, expulsion and/or ineligibility for participation in athletics or other school activities). Students under the age of 17 with excessive absences will be reported to the district's Office of Student Services. An absence is considered unlawful if the student is absent without parental knowledge or without an acceptable reason – with or without parental knowledge.

Truancy can have a devastating impact on a young person's education. The South Carolina Compulsory School Attendance Law requires that children between the ages of five (5) and seventeen (17) years attend school regularly. The law mandates that parents assure the presence of their children at school. Section 59-65-20 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976 states: "Any parent or guardian who neglects to enroll his child or ward or refuses to make such child or ward attend school shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $50 or be imprisoned not more than 30 days; each day's absence shall constitute a separate offense . . . ."

What the law means is that for any unlawful absence that a child accrues, the parent or guardian could be fined $50 or serve 30 days in jail for each unexcused day! Parents are encouraged to work with school staff members to assure that their children attend school. Parental support will make a world of difference in a child's future. If parents make education a priority, so will their children.

Make Up of Missed Work

It is the responsibility of students to get assignments when they are absent from school. Students are encouraged to get assignments from classmates if they miss a class. Students who are to be absent from school for 3 or more days may request assignments through the guidance counselors at the school. The counselors should be given at least 24 hours advance notice to enable them to obtain assignments.

Students will not be excused from work that was assigned during their absence. Work that was completed by the class while a student was absent should be completed by the student to the satisfaction of the teacher when the student returns to school. Students are expected to schedule, within five days, makeup of all missed work.

Tardies

Parents should have students at school on time each day. Also, secondary students are expected to be in their individual classes on time. The tardy student misses important instruction and creates a disruption in the class when arriving late. Late arrival (tardiness) results in interruptions to the learning process – not only for the tardy student but for the other students in the class as well. Each school has guidelines for the disciplinary consequences for tardiness. In addition, constant tardiness may be referred to the SDPC Office of Student Services for further action.

Early Dismissal

A parent or guardian must sign out any student leaving school early. Dismissals during the last 30 minutes of the day should be avoided if at all possible as it becomes a disruption to the class as teachers and students are closing instructional activities for the day.

Parents or guardians must make arrangements with the school office if other persons will be signing out their children. The school will not dismiss a student into the custody of another individual without verified permission from the parent or guardian.

Medical Homebound Instruction

Parents who anticipate a student's absence due to an extended health problem may apply immediately for homebound instruction. Application must be made within 10 days of the first series of absences. Students who cannot attend school because of illness or injury, even with the aid of transportation, are eligible for homebound instruction. A licensed medical doctor must certify that the student is unable to attend school but able to profit from the homebound instruction.

Medical Homebound Instruction – Policy IHBF

Purpose:  To establish the basic structure for the district's provision of medical homebound instruction to students.

Eligibility

Students who cannot attend school because of illness, accident, or pregnancy, even with the aid of transportation, are eligible for medical homebound instruction or hospitalized instruction. A physician must certify that the student is unable to attend school but able to profit from instruction. 

Only a medical illness complicating a pregnancy will deem a pregnant student eligible for medical homebound instruction prior to the delivery date. Such eligibility must be documented by a physician. Students should be encouraged to return to school as soon as possible after delivery. A medical release is required for return to school.

Authorization

Medical homebound instruction must be approved by the superintendent or his/her designee on a standardized form provided by the state department of education and available at each school site or the district office.

Description

Medical homebound instruction will be determined on an individual basis related to course of study and medical condition or as otherwise approved by the district designee. The district will provide at least the minimum number of instruction hours as provided in the current rules and regulations of the State Board of Education. All teachers providing medical homebound instruction to students domiciled in South Carolina must hold a valid South Carolina teacher's certificate.

Students must successfully complete the material assigned and receive a passing grade from the student's classroom teacher or school designee in case of extended medical homebound instruction. This requirement is necessary in order for the student to advance to the next grade or to satisfy the state requirements for a state high school diploma.

A student is eligible for medical homebound instruction according to certain timelines as stated in the State Board of Education regulation. Should an approved student not be provided the required periods of medical homebound instruction that he/she is entitled to receive, the student is eligible to have the medical homebound instruction made up by the district. This make-up may occur during the student's remaining eligibility for medical homebound instruction or may occur after the student returns to school. The school will not hold make-up periods during the regular school day. If the school delays the start of services for any reason and the student is still entitled to the services, the district must make up the missed instructional periods even if the regular school year has ended.

Medical and student records are confidential subject to the provisions of JRA and JRA-R.

Policy IHBF-R

Eligibility

Students who cannot attend school because of illness, accident, or pregnancy, even with the aid of transportation, are eligible for medical homebound or hospitalized instruction. A physician must certify that the student is unable to attend school but able to profit from instruction. 

Medical homebound instruction is appropriate when a student has a medical condition that confines the student to the home or other facility approved by the district.

A physician must certify that the student is unable to attend school but may profit from instruction given in the home or other facility approved by the district. The medical homebound instruction form is used for this certification.

The superintendent’s designee approves each student who participates in a program of medical homebound instruction and determines if medical homebound instruction is appropriate for the student.

Medical homebound instruction will be provided for each day of school missed. An application for medical homebound instruction should be submitted to the superintendent’s designee no later than 10 school days following the onset of the medical condition that results in qualifying absences.

The teacher who provides medical homebound instruction will have a valid South Carolina teacher’s certificate. The teacher will teach the homebound student in a room especially set aside for the period of instruction. The teacher who provides medical homebound instruction will keep a weekly record of teaching services provided.

The expectations and quality of the work completed by a student receiving medical homebound instruction will be the same as for students attending school.

Medical homebound instruction is based on lesson assignments from the student’s classroom teacher(s). Tests and other assessments are furnished by the student’s classroom teacher(s) and administered in the presence of the medical homebound teacher. The classroom teacher grades the tests and communicates the results to the medical homebound teacher. A student who is on medical homebound instruction receives report card grades from the classroom teacher. These grades are based on the same criteria used to determine report card grades for students who receive instruction in the regular classroom.

Medical homebound instruction is not appropriate for a student who works during the period of eligibility.

Medical homebound instruction will be terminated if it becomes evident that the student is no longer eligible to receive this service. The teacher providing medical homebound instruction, or other school staff members, is to report any student to the principal who may no longer be eligible for medical homebound instruction. The principal is to notify the superintendent’s designee of any student who may no longer be eligible for medical homebound instruction. The medical homebound status is terminated upon verification that the student is no longer eligible for medical homebound instruction.

The parent/legal guardian must receive an explanation of the medical homebound program prior to receiving the medical homebound instruction form.

Frequent cancellations without medical excuses or repeatedly “no shows” for scheduled appointments may jeopardize a student’s homebound status.