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ATTENDANCE RESPONSIBILITIES AND REGULATIONS

A. PHILOSOPHY

To be successful in today’s society, a person needs to be educated. Attendance at school is a prerequisite to a successful education. Class attendance has a stronger impact on the student’s academic progress than any other factor. Therefore, the district encourages

all students to remain in school until graduation and urges students and parents to dedicate themselves to insuring that students attend school.

B. STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

A 1. Attend school regularly.

2. When returning to school after an absence, a written excuse signed by the

parent/guardian must be returned to the main office.

3. Be aware of your obligation to make up missed work.

4. Be aware of the school attendance policy and the consequences of noncompliance.

C. PARENT RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Make sure that the student attends school regularly in accordance with the

Pennsylvania Compulsory School Attendance Law. Don’t keep a student home for a minor ailment, especially if the student has a poor attendance record, and refuse to write false excuses for the student.

2. Following an absence, send a signed excuse note with the student the day they

return to school, which includes the student’s name, grade, dates of absence and

reason for absence. If a note is not received within three (3) school days, the

absence will be considered unexcused/unlawful.

3. Be aware of the school attendance policy and the consequences of noncompliance.

4. Be aware of the student’s obligation to make up missed work.

5. Provide appropriate information and/or documentation to the nurse’s office

regarding known medical problems which might require a student to be

periodically absent from school.

EXCUSED ABSENCES FOR TEMPORARY PERIODS

The following are examples of excused absences:

1. Religious holidays – observed by bona fide religious groups when requested in writing by

the parents stating the name and date of the holiday.

2. Religious instruction – provided by bona fide religious groups for a maximum of thirty-six (36) hours per year when requested in writing by the parents. The district shall not provide transportation to religious instruction.

3. A medical, dental, or other health care appointment when requested in writing by the parent/guardian and/or verified by the practitioner, and, it is not practical or possible to receive the services outside of school hours.

4. Illness or recovery from an accident.

5. Quarantine of the home.

6. Death of an immediate family member or near relative, limited to five days per occurrence (exceptions may be granted by the principal).

7. Required court appearance.

8. Unavoidable family emergencies. Excuses will be reviewed by the Principal or designee who will make the decision whether the emergency was unavoidable.

9. State Farm Show/Bloomsburg Fair – if a note from the parent/guardian in submitted and prior permission is obtained, the absence is considered excused.

10. Out-of-school suspension.

UNEXCUSED OR UNLAWFUL ABSENCES

The following are examples of unexcused or unlawful absences:

1. Oversleeping.

2. Missing the bus.

3. Routine babysitting.

4. Failing to turn in an excuse within three (3) days of return to school.

5. Failing to turn in a doctor’s excuse for an absence of more than three (3) consecutive days following an illness.

6. Truancy/skipping class and/or leaving school grounds without lawful excuse.

7. Refusing to come to school.

8. Working during school hours at a job that is not part of the high school co-op program.

9. Missing school in excess of fifteen (15) days per school year without a doctor’s excuse for each subsequent absence.

10. Taking an educational trip without following the educational trip guidelines (see Educational/Vacation Trips).

11. Being absent for reasons other than those listed under Excused Absences.

Unexcused absences are considered unlawful for students who are of compulsory school attendance age, which is from the time they begin first grade (no later than age eight) until the time they reach the age seventeen years.

ATTENDANCE PROCEDURES FOR EXCESSIVE OR UNLAWFUL ABSENCE

If the attendance regulations are to be effective in reducing unnecessary student absenteeism, student absence must be monitored and related to appropriate school responses.

1. After ten (10) days of cumulative absence a letter of notification from the building principal will be sent to the parent/guardian.

2. After fifteen (15) days of cumulative absence a letter requiring a doctor’s note for all future

absences will be sent to the parent/guardian. If a doctor’s note is not presented within three (3) days of the students return to class, the absence will be declared unexcused or unlawful.

3. After the third unlawful absence, as per the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE),

the school counselor will contact the parents to develop a truancy elimination plan.

4. Parents of students with three (3) or more unlawful absences will be issued a first notice.

5. Upon each subsequent unlawful absence, all parents who have received a first notice will

be referred to the district magistrate to be charged with violation of the Compulsory School

Attendance Law. If found guilty the penalties could include a $300 per day fine, being

sentenced to complete parenting classes at the parent/guardian expense or up to five (5)

days in jail.

EDUCATIONAL/VACATION TOURS AND TRIPS

Requests by parents to have their children excused from school for educational/vacation trips must be evaluated under the authority of the State Board of Education, Chapter 11, Pupil Attendance, Section 11.26 “Educational Tours and Trips, Not School Sponsored”. Failure to get pre-approved may result in the absences being declared unexcused or unlawful.

1. The maximum of five (5) days permitted may be used for one (1) trip or a few small trips,

however, only a total of five (5) days per school year will be allowed unless approved by the Superintendent or designee. No days may be carried over to the following school year.

2. Any days beyond the maximum of five (5) will be considered unexcused or unlawful.

3. A written request for a student to be excused for an educational/vacation trip must be submitted to the building principal no less than ten (10) school days prior to the trip.

4. The following will be taken into consideration by the principal in granting permission for the trip: the student’s academic standing; the student’s attendance record; the effect the absence will have on the student’s educational welfare; exceptionality of the request.

5. Permission may not be granted for trips/tour during the district’s standardized testing period, the state’s testing periods and the secondary school examination periods.

6. Decisions may be appealed to the Superintendent or designee.

7. Students are responsible for contacting teachers and making up missed work and/or assignments.

8. Students shall have two days to complete all past assignments. Completed assignments are due at the beginning of the third day of classes after approved absence for a family trip.

SCHOOL ATTENDANCE REPORTING

If for any reason your child or children is/are absent from school one or more days, a call to the building he/she attends must be made. Calls to either the Bethel Elementary School (717-933-4131), or the Penn-Bernville Elementary School (610-488-6248), must be made by 10 a.m. or earlier. If a call is not received by the hours indicated above, a call to a student’s parents or guardian will be made by the school to determine the reason for his/her absence.

Upon returning to school after an absence, a written excuse must be submitted to the child’s classroom teacher. If a child is absent more than three (3) consecutive days, a written doctor’s excuse must be submitted to the child’s classroom teacher. NOTE: The communicable disease of chicken pox is exempt from this requirement.

EARLY DISMISSAL

Students will not be dismissed from school unless a written request is registered in the office. Students will be released to the parent or approved guardian only after being signed out in the office. The request must be presented the day of early dismissal or a day preceding the dismissal. The early dismissal request must be presented to the child’s teacher during homeroom.

When reason warrants an early release, a student should bring a signed note from his or her parents requesting the release. The purpose of the early dismissal must be clearly stated in the note. Students dismissed after 10:30 a.m. will be counted present for the morning session, but must return for the afternoon session to have the day count. Students dismissed after 1:30 p.m. will be counted present for the entire school day, and no excuse blank will be issued. Frequent requests for early dismissal are subject to administrative approval.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Absence Prior to or After an Event

Any student who has an unexcused absence from class(s) shall be ineligible to participate in any activities that school day and any following non-school days. For an absence to be excused, a written note signed by a physician/dentist/etc. must be presented to and approved by the principal or designee. This approval must occur prior to a student’s participation in an exracurricular activity. If an absence is due to illness, the student may not participate on the day of absence, or until the date specified on the written note. If an absence is due to injury, the student may not participate until the date specified by the physician. The student may, however, attend the event. Tardiness or absence for illegal/unlawful reasons will not be tolerated the day after an event.

District Administrative Office
27 Rehrersburg Road
Bethel, PA 19507
717-933-4611
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