State makes changes to strict attendance policy

Students who are sick for less than three days no longer have to worry about whether their school will take a doctor’s note.

In a change to last year’s new statewide attendance policy, students will once again be able to use a doctor’s note if they miss less than three days.

“I think it’s overall a good change because if a child doesn’t need to be out of school three consecutive days or more, why have that child miss instruction to satisfy that (medical note) requirement?” said Jerry Smith, Director of Child Welfare and Attendance for the district.

Last year, school officials were concerned when the state passed new policies regarding the number of days students can miss and the ways in which students could be “excused” for missing school.

However, students and their parents rose to the occasion and a lower percentage of children missed school last year, presumably as a result of the policy change.

Other parts of the new policy will stay unchanged and in effect this year.

Elementary and middle school students will still be allowed to miss 10 days per school year, down from the previously allowed 17 days per year. In high school, students will be allowed to miss five days per class. Two years ago, they were allowed eight days per course.

The policy regarding parent notes will also remain the same. A parent can write two parent notes per nine weeks for elementary and middle schools and four parent notes per semester at the high school level, Smith said. Once the child has exceeded the cap of missed days, the parent cannot write any notes.


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