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The state of Pennsylvania requires school districts to follow strict compulsory attendance laws. As a result, our school district attendance policies reflect these requirements. The state broadly defines absences as excused when a student is prevented from attendance for mental, physical, or other urgent reasons. The items below outline the key components of the attendance policy. Statements in italics are intended to help clarify the state’s wording.
• All absences should be treated as unlawful until the school district (school) receives a written excuse explaining the reason(s) for an absence. Parents/guardians and students should submit the written explanation within three calendar days of the absence and should be informed that if they fail to provide a written excuse within three days of the absence, the absence would be permanently counted as unlawful. The PDE (Pennsylvania Department of Education) recommends that schools immediately inform parents in writing upon each incident of unlawful absence.
This means that you are required to send a written excuse to school when your child returns to school after an absence. If the school does not receive a written excuse within three days of the absence, it remains an unlawful (unexcused) absence.
Written notification will be sent home upon each incident of unlawful (unexcused) absence.
• A maximum of ten days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification may be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond ten cumulative days should require an excuse from a physician.
Cumulative days are defined as the total number. They may be consecutive or accumulated throughout the school year.
Research indicates that good school attendance habits are important to academic success. The benefits of regular classroom instruction are difficult to replicate and, once lost, are often not regained. Please help us support the academic success of your child by complying with the state attendance law and Fox Chapel Area School District policy.
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.