Attendance

Elementary Parent Handbook: Attendance Regulations
Academic and personal successes are enhanced when students attend school with a high degree of consistency. The Home and School Visitor/Attendance Officer, Romy Tressler, is available to assist students and parents when attendance problems exist. Her office is located at the District Administrative Office, 215-723-6061.

Pennsylvania School Code requires all students of compulsory age to attend school regularly. When an absence occurs, it is excused if:

  1. The absence occurs for legal reasons such as an illness, death in the family, or for other reasons approved by code, school policy, or school district personnel. AND
  2. The child's parent/guardian provides a written excuse within three (3) days of a child's return to school.

Parental Notice of Absence
Absences shall be treated as unlawful until the district receives a written excuse explaining the absence, to be submitted within three (3) days of the absence.

A maximum of ten (10) days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification shall be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond ten (10) cumulative days may require an excuse from a doctor (licensed practitioner of the healing arts).

A. Student Attendance:
The Board of the School Directors of the Souderton Area School District, consistent with Pennsylvania law and regulations, will not condone or permit absences from school for an unlawful reason. Responsibility toward school personnel, success and proper study habits are established during the elementary years and continue through the middle school and high school years. For this reason attendance is expected and necessary for all grade levels. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every student enrolled in the public schools of the SASD to be in daily attendance except for the following reasons:

  1. Personal illness

  2. Quarantine of the individual or home

  3. Recovery from an accident.

  4. Obtaining professional health care or therapy services rendered by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts in any state, commonwealth or territory.

  5. Death in the immediate family (five days maximum)

  6. Exceptional urgent reasons or safety reasons - must pertain to the individual student as determined by the principal or designee.

  7. Religious Holiday - Upon written parental request, pupils may be excused for religious holidays observed by official religious groups.

  8. Attendance of classes for religious instruction - Upon prior written parental request, a public school pupil shall be excused from school in order to attend classes for religious instruction pursuant to Section 1546 of the Public School Code of 1988. The release form shall be limited to the total of not more than thirty-six (36) hours per school year. A pupil's absence from school for religious holidays or for religious instruction shall be recorded as an excused absence. A written confirmation must be provided to the public school that the student in fact participated in the religious instruction on the dates/times requested.

  9. Suspension from school

  10. Required court appearance

  11. In the case of an exceptional student, where absence is caused by or directly related to the student's exceptionality.

  12. Health Care - Upon written parental request, a pupil may be excused during school hours for the purpose of obtaining professional health care or therapy service only if the following requirements are met:

    1. The health or therapeutic services are to be rendered by Commonwealth-licensed practitioners.
    2. It is not practicable or possible for the pupil to receive the service outside of school hours.
    3. The time of necessary absence from school involves a minimum of interference with the pupil's regular program of study.
  13. Non Immunized Children - No child may be admitted or permitted to attend the public schools unless the child has received immunizations as required by the Department of Health at 28 Pa Code Chapter 23, Subchapter C (relating to immunization) or has received from the School District's Superintendent a medical or religious exemption from immunization under 28 Pa Code Section 23.84 (relating to exemptions for immunizations). A child who has not received all doses of the required immunizations or has not been exempted for immunization, but who has received at least one (1) dose of each of the required immunizations, may be provisionally admitted and attend public school for a period of up to five (5) days.

  14. All educational trips with a family member or guardian must have prior approval of the Building Principal. Approval may be granted for requests for educational trips up to a maximum of ten (10) school days per year. Exceptions will be reviewed by the Superintendent on a case-by-case basis. Educational trips may not be approved if they conflict with finals, achievement tests, or other school events which the Superintendent deems attendance necessary. Only students in good academic and attendance standing will have trips/travel approved by the administration. Educational / Family trips will not be excused during PSSA Testing.

  15. Absences from School Holiday Socials
    Any student whose parent requests in writing that his/her child not participate in holiday socials (Fall, Winter and Valentine's Day) will be granted an excused absence for half a day only.

Students not attending socials are expected to attend regularly scheduled classes prior to the beginning of the event. Students will be excused 15 minutes prior to the start of the social.

For students who are of compulsory age, three (3) days of unlawful absence will necessitate a warning notice to be sent in accordance with Section 1333 of the School Code. Any subsequent unlawful absences may result in the filing of a citation in district court. Compulsory school age shall mean the period of a child's life from the time the child's parents elect to have the child enter school, which shall be no later than eight (8) years, until the age of seventeen (17) years.

B. Absence Verification
When a student returns to school after a legal absence, a written excuse must be provided by a parent or guardian. This excuse must be for one of the permissible reasons for absence stated in Part A in order for the absence to be excused. Unless a written excuse is presented within three (3) school days after the student returns to school, the absence will be counted as unlawful. A doctor's excuse may be requested for any absence for a student who is excessively absent from school.

C. Procedures For Fulfilling Academic Requirements Due to Absence from School
Any student who is absent from school/classes for any reason must make up all missed work. Work will be permitted to be made up during classesfor extenuating circumstances with the consent of the teacher and principal.

D. Homebound Instruction
Students who anticipate missing more than ten (10) consecutive school days due to physical, mental or other urgent reasons may be eligible for homebound instruction. Parents/guardians must present a written request to the building administrator for homebound instruction. For a physical illness, a physician's letter is necessary to substantiate the need for homebound instruction. Likewise for a mental health issue a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist diagnosis and recommendation for homebound is necessary for approval.

E. School-Sponsored Activities
In order to participate in school-sponsored activity, the student must be in attendance at school on the day of the activity or, if applicable, the day before a holiday if the activity falls either on the holiday or the day following. (Written requests for exceptions to this procedure shall be presented to the building principal or designee prior to the scheduled activity for review on a case-by-case basis.)

F. Dismissal During School Hours
Attempts should be made to schedule medical and dental appointments at times other than during the school day. A student who needs to be excused for part of the school day must present a written request from his/her parent/guardian to the appropriate administrator. Parents/guardians may be asked to have medical or dental appointments verified by the attending doctor. A student who has an excused medical or dental appointment during school hours is to attend school until the time of dismissal and to return to school after the appointment unless medical reasons prevent the student from returning to school.

Truancy
When a student has been absent for three (3) days during the current school year without a lawful excuse, district staff shall provide notice to the person in parental relations who resides in the same household. The notice will include description of the consequences if the student becomes habitually truant. If the student incurs additional unexcused absences after the issuance of the notice a School Attendance Improvement Conference will occur. Students that are habitually truant may be referred to the local children and youth agency and/or have a citation filed with the appropriate judge.

Additional information concerning attendance can be found in Policy 204 – Attendance.