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Policy 9010 Implementation Procedures - Attendance

Implementation Procedures

I. Annual Notification

  1. The HCPSS will publish attendance information annually in the Student/Parent Handbook and post current attendance guidelines and procedures on the school system’s website.

  2. The principal will inform all students, parents, and employees of the provisions of this policy annually and at other times as appropriate. This may be done in the following ways:

    1. Making announcements via the public address system at the beginning of the school year.

    2. Publishing the information in school newsletters and on approved electronic communication platforms.

    3. Publishing the information in employee/student handbooks.

    4. Posting the information on a bulletin board and/or school’s website.

    5. Making the information available for new students through the registration process.

II. School Procedures

Recognizing administrators’ and teachers’ responsibility for maintaining a system to record and report student absences (lawful and unlawful/excused and unexcused), the following procedures are required for all schools:

  1. Monitoring of Attendance:

    1. Teachers will maintain daily/period attendance records for all students and report tardiness and absence information as well as suspected truancies to attendance reporting personnel. This information will be entered into the student information management system by the end of each period and serve as the attendance source document. The attendance source document is the documentation substantiating a student’s attendance. The document must include school name, school year, teacher’s name, student’s name, consecutive and chronological dates and a clear indicator of present, absent, and tardy with a legend for the indicators. These elements are required for the Maryland State Department of Education September Enrollment Audit.

    2. Attendance personnel will use the following guidelines for determining full day absent, full day present and half day present:

      1. Students Scheduled for a Full Day

        A student is counted present for a full day if the student is in attendance four hours or more of the school day. A student is counted present for a half day if in attendance for at least two hours of the school day, but less than four hours.

      2. Students Scheduled for a Partial Day

        A student scheduled for less than a full day is to be counted present based on the amount of time the student is scheduled.

        1. Students enrolled in less than a full day of classes must be present for their full defined day in order to be credited with a full day present.

        2. Students enrolled in only one class must be present for the full class in order to receive a full day present, otherwise they are marked absent.

        3. Students enrolled for a partial day must be present for at least half of the scheduled hours to receive credit for a half day.

    3. Any student who participates during the school day in a school-sponsored activity which is approved by the Superintendent or the principal, or any persons duly authorized by the Superintendent/designee or principal/designee will be considered in attendance at school. This means that when a student is involved in an approved school sponsored activity during the day, he or she is to be counted “present” and coded as lawfully absent for the time missed eg., GT seminar, sectionals, field trips.

    4. Students reporting late to school/class when the day/period begins are considered tardy. Leaving school/class before the day/period ends is considered early dismissal. School personnel will designate tardiness and early dismissal as lawful or unlawful and treat it under the same criteria as a lawful or an unlawful absence. Missing class for more than 20 minutes will be treated as an absence for that class. Missing class for more than 35 minutes of a 90 minute class will also be treated as an absence for that class.

    5. Designated school personnel will contact the parent when a student is absent for two or more consecutive school days or when truancy is suspected.

    6. The school must receive notification from the parent or physician explaining the absence/tardiness of a student within five school days of the student’s return or the absence/tardiness will be unlawful/unexcused.

      Emancipated students may be allowed to write their own notes to verify a lawful absence. When a doctor’s note for chronic illness has been required and not provided within five school days of the student’s return, the absence/tardiness will be recorded as unlawful/unexcused until a doctor’s note is provided.

    7. All schools' report cards will report numbers of days present and absent from school. High school report cards will also report numbers of absences from each period.

    8. Schools (Instructional Intervention Team/Student Support Team) will provide supports/interventions through the problem solving team for students who are habitually late or absent to school/class.

  2. Retention of Attendance Source Documents:

    Documentation substantiating attendance must be retained for three school calendar years in accordance with the Maryland State Department of Education Student Records System Manual.

  3. Retention of Other Documents Related to Attendance:

    Tardy logs, early dismissal logs, and parent notes will be retained for three years in a secure location.

  4. Entry and Exit for Purposes of Enrollment:

    School employees responsible for maintaining enrollment and attendance information will record entry and exit codes on the Student Record 1 card (Attendance Card) according to standards described in the Maryland Student Records System Manual. In addition, entry and exit codes must be entered into the student information management system when a student enters or leaves the school.

III. Lawful/Excused Absence

Students presently enrolled in public schools are considered lawfully absent from school, including absence for any portion of the day, and may receive make-up work under the following conditions:

  1. Bereavement

    1. Immediate family – The number of days absent for a death in the “immediate family” is not to exceed five per instance. “Immediate family” is defined as parents, (step) brother, (step) sister, grandparents, or anyone who has lived regularly in the household of the student.

    2. Other – Two days of absence will be allowed for the death of an aunt, uncle, cousin, or classmate.

  2. Illness of the student

    1. A doctor’s note may be required for chronic illness, which is defined as a physical or mental health disease (condition) of long duration, showing little change or of slow progression, which may be minor or severe in nature. This includes, but is not limited to, medical appointments.

    2. A parent note will be accepted for students attending a medical appointment.

    3. Students receiving Home and Hospital Teaching will be maintained on the regular school rolls and counted as present except when students are not available for home and hospital teaching, in which case they are marked absent.

    4. Health-related exclusion – Students are temporarily excluded from school for the following health-related reasons:

      1. Failure of parents or guardians to abide by the health regulations regarding immunization schedules or failure to provide evidence of appropriate immunizations after 20 calendar days: COMAR; or

      2. Conditions that present a clear and direct health risk to others: COMAR

  3. Pregnancy and parenting needs

    1. All pregnancy- and parenting-related conditions are lawful/excused absences for:

      1. Labor

      2. Delivery

      3. Recovery

      4. Prenatal and postnatal medical appointments.

    2. A parenting student is allowed lawful/excused absent days after the birth of the student’s child. A physicians’ note may be required.

    3. A parenting student’s absences due to an illness or a medical appointment of the student’s child are lawful/excused absences. After four days of such absences, during a school year, a physician’s note may be required.

    4. A student’s absences due to a legal appointment involving the pregnant or parenting student that is related to family law proceedings, including adoption, custody, and visitation are lawful/excused absences.

    5. Options concerning an appropriate educational program will be in alignment with Policy 9100 Educational Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Students.

  4. Court summons – When a student must report to court by the issuance of a summons, the time absent will be considered a lawful/excused absence.

  5. Hazardous weather conditions – This will be interpreted to mean only those conditions of the weather which would endanger the health or safety of the student when in transit to and from school.

  6. Work – Such work must be approved or sponsored by the school, the local school system, or the State Department of Education, and accepted by the Superintendent or the principal/designee.

  7. Observance of a religious holiday – Students may be excused when their attendance at school conflicts with participation in traditional and customary religious holidays. In accordance with Standard B. of Policy 3000 Religious Observances, parents/students may request an accommodation to meet a religious obligation that cannot be fulfilled except during the school day.

  8. State emergency – The Governor/designee makes these determinations.

  9. Suspension – Suspension is the denial of a student’s right to attend regular classes or school for a specified period of time for cause as outlined in Policy 9200 Student Discipline.

    Note: Suspension is a lawful/excused absence and the days of suspension status cannot be used when determining “habitual truancy.”

  10. Lack of authorized transportation – A student may be excused when school system authorized transportation is not available for reasons beyond the student’s control. This does not include students denied authorized transportation for disciplinary reasons.

  11. Other emergency or set of circumstances, which, in the judgment of the Superintendent/designee, constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence from school. The principal, in consultation with the Community Superintendent or designee, as appropriate, will determine whether absences are excused under this provision.

    1. Absences of an Emergency Nature

      Such absences will be reviewed by the principal in consultation with the administrative directors to determine whether the absences will be lawful/excused or unlawful/unexcused.

    2. Deployment Related Absences

      Deployment related absences will be excused for the purpose of visiting with a parent who is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from, deployment to a combat zone or support posting.

    3. Absences for Discretionary Days

      1. A written request for such absences to be lawful/excused should be submitted at least one week in advance to the principal/designee.

      2. Such absences may not occur during exam or state-mandated testing periods unless authorized by the principal/designee.

      3. For absences of up to 3 days per year, the principal will determine whether the absences will be lawful/excused or unlawful/unexcused.

        Such absences may include, but are not limited to, the following events directly involving the student:

        1. Visits to post-secondary institutions

        2. Participation in college orientation programs

        3. Scheduled interviews with prospective employers

        4. Special family events, including vacations/trips.

      4. For absences in excess of three days under this provision, the principal in consultation with the Community Superintendent or designee will determine if the absences will be lawful/excused or unlawful/unexcused.

      5. Requests for absences for religious obligations which are not addressed under Section III.G. of these procedures should be processed in accordance with Policy 3000 Religious Observances.

IV. Unlawful/Unexcused Absence

An absence for any reason other than those cited as lawful are presumed as unlawful and may constitute truancy (COMAR 13A.08.01.04).

  1. Teachers may assist students with make-up work when a student has an unlawful absence, however, students will not receive credit for such assignments.

  2. Continuing unlawful absences and/or tardiness of the student will result in the initiation of one or more of the following actions:

    1. Student conference

    2. Parent contact

    3. Attendance contract

    4. After school detention

    5. Saturday School

    6. Exclusion from activities

    7. Removal of school privileges

    8. Restriction of extracurricular activities

    9. Referral to PPW/Student Services.

  3. Enrolled students who do not report to school in August/September are marked absent during the first month of the school year until they report to class. By September 30, all enrolled students who have not reported since the first day of school, will be exited with the date of exit July 1.

  4. Students with unlawful absences of 10 consecutive school days or more will be withdrawn from school and may be allowed to re-enroll, provided they meet enrollment requirements, upon their return. Upon expiration of the 10-day window, the student will be withdrawn and the date of the exit will be the first day after the last day of attendance. Teachers will not be required to provide make-up work during this time of absence. For these absences to be considered as lawful, parents will need to exercise the option outlined in Section III. of these procedures.

  5. For students receiving special education services and exhibiting behaviors outlined in Sections IV.C. and/or D. of these implementation procedures, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) TEAM, in consultation with the Department of Special Education, must conduct an IEP meeting to determine if the IEP remains appropriate.

    1. If the IEP remains appropriate, the school will proceed with the processes outlined in Sections IV.C. and/or D. of these implementation procedures.

    2. If the IEP is not appropriate, the IEP team will revise the IEP.

V. Supports and Interventions

  1. School-wide informational sessions will be conducted to share the expectations of the HCPSS Policy 9010 Attendance and its connection and correlation to student’s academic and social success. Information sessions can be communicated through new student orientation, student assemblies, information pamphlets, school website, etc. within the first few weeks of school.

  2. The HCPSS attendance strategies will be implemented school-wide to encourage attendance for all students.

  3. Interventions will be put in place for students who need more support to avoid or improve chronic absenteeism.

    1. The principal will ensure that designated school personnel will initiate a “call of care and concern” to parents when a student misses two unexcused consecutive days or reaches a 5% absence rate to identify how the school can assist the family.

    2. Administrators will identify students with multiple absences and will send letters home at 5%, 10%, and 20% unless the school has notification of a student’s chronic medical condition and interventions are currently in place.

    3. Members of the team will develop, implement and regularly monitor an attendance improvement plan that may include the following:

      A parent/teacher/student conference focused on assessing the needs of the student will be requested if a student experiences absenteeism rates of 15% or more in order to assess the needs of the student in connection with attendance and academic success.

    4. The school’s problem solving team will create an attendance plan to support students in improving overall attendance and in meeting attendance goals.

    5. If attendance barriers are present that are adversely affecting a child’s attendance, an SST referral will be made to look at comprehensive supports for the family.

  4. Intensive supports will be implemented for students facing the greatest challenges to getting to school. These supports include:

    1. An attendance team or SST to further monitor student attendance.

    2. Use of a Pupil Personnel Worker to visit home.

  5. Include quarterly reminders and updates of school attendance with employees to share success and identify needs for improvements.

  6. Under the Annotated Code of Maryland action may be taken when compulsory attendance issues arise. It is the duty of the parent to see that their child attends school or receives the required instruction.

    1. Any person who induces or attempts to induce a child to absent himself unlawfully from school or employs or harbors any child who is absent unlawfully from school while school is in session is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or both. (Section 7-301 (e) 1)

    2. Any person who has legal custody or care and control of a child who is 5 years old or older and under 16 who fails to see that the child attends school or receives instruction under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and: For a first conviction is subject to a fine not to exceed $50 per day of unlawful absence or imprisonment not to exceed 10 days, or both; and For a second or subsequent conviction is subject to a fine not to exceed $100 per day of unlawful absence or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or both. (Section 7-301 (e) 2)

VI. Monitoring

Policy 9010 implementation procedures will be overseen by the Division of Academics.

VIII. History

ADOPTED: April 23, 1992

REVIEWED: July 1, 2012

MODIFIED: September 19, 2017

REVISED: June 10, 1999, June 21, 2005, July 1, 2005, October 27, 2005, July 13, 2006, May 10, 2007, September 20, 2007, July 14, 2011, June 11, 2020

EFFECTIVE: August 18, 2020