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

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 credit for a high school course, a student must attend at least 85 days (for a 90-day semester course) or 170 days (for a 180-day year course). 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.

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.

A valid excuse must be dated and must list the date of absence(s), the reason for absence(s) and the telephone number and signature of the parent/legal guardian.

The district may require students who are absent in excess of 10 days (6/7 period schedule) or five days (eight period schedule) to present, as deemed necessary by the principal, a written excuse from a licensed/certified health practitioner involved in the student’s care. Otherwise, the district will grant an attendance exemption.

Definitions/Explanations

The following definitions pertain to absences.

Excused absences

  • absences for student health concerns excused by parent/legal guardian or licensed/certified health practitioner involved in the student’s care
  • absences for a serious family health concern or death in the family
  • absences for parental approved, pre-arranged, non-school sponsored trips or activities including recognized religious holidays (pre-arranged absences must be approved by the school principal prior to the absence)

     

    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.

    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.

    Unlawful absences

    Absences without acceptable cause or without parental permission and/or a valid excuse are unlawful. The district does not permit truancy under any circumstances. Students who are absent without parental knowledge or for unacceptable reasons will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and possible referral to family court. Any student who fails to bring a valid excuse within three school days of his/her return to school automatically receives an unlawful absence. Students exceeding 10 unlawful absences (6/7 period schedule) or five unlawful absences (eight period schedule) will be reported to the attendance supervisor.

    Interventions/Make-up

    Students are expected to schedule, within five school days, make-up of all missed work.

    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 (6/7period schedule) or two (eight period schedule) in a semester course or eight (6/7 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.

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 (6/7 period schedule) or three (eight period schedule) or more lawful absences for a semester course or have 11 (6/7 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.

 

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 define eligibility for medical homebound instruction and to describe the program.

Eligibility

Students who cannot attend school because of illness, accident or pregnancy, even with the aid of transportation, are eligible for medical homebound 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. 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. 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.

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 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.