Policy Code: 4400 Attendance
School attendance and class participation are integral parts of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Through regular attendance, students develop patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is mandatory. The State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of 7 (or younger if enrolled) and 16 attend school.
Parents and legal guardians are responsible for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily. School administrators shall communicate attendance expectations to parents and guardians and work with students and their families to overcome barriers to attendance.
A. Attendance Records
School officials shall keep accurate records of attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class. Students will be considered in attendance if present at least half of the instructional day on-site in the school or at a place other than the school attending an authorized school-related activity. To be in attendance during remote instruction days, students must: (1) complete their daily assignments, either online or offline; and/or (2) have a daily check-in through two-way communication with (a) the homeroom teacher for grades K-5 or (b) for all other grade levels, each course teacher as scheduled.
B. Late Arrivals and Early Departures
Students are expected to be at school on time and to remain at school until dismissed. During the school day, students are expected to be present at the scheduled starting time for each class and to remain until the class ends.
When a student must be late to school or leave school early, a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian should be presented upon the student’s arrival at school. Tardies or early departures may be excused for any of the reasons listed below in Section C.
Any disciplinary consequences for unexcused tardiness or unexcused early departures from school or class will be consistent with Section D of policy 4300, Student Behavior Policies. The superintendent or designee shall list in the Code of Student Conduct the specific range of consequences that may be imposed on a student for such offenses. Consequences may not exceed a short-term suspension of two days.
C. Excused Absences
When a student must miss school, a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian must be presented to the student’s teacher on the day the student returns after an absence. Absences due to extended illnesses may also require a statement from a health care practitioner. An absence may be excused for any of the following reasons:
1. personal illness or injury that makes the student physically unable to attend school;
2. isolation ordered by the local health officer or the State Board of Health;
3. death in the immediate family;
4. medical or dental appointment;
5. attendance at the proceedings of a court or administrative tribunal if the student is party to the action or under subpoena as a witness;
6. a minimum of two days each academic year for observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student’s parent(s);
7. participation in a valid educational opportunity, such as travel or service as a legislative or Governor’s page, with prior approval from the principal;
8. pregnancy and related conditions or parenting, when medically necessary; or
9. visitation with the student’s parent or legal guardian, at the discretion of the superintendent or designee, if the parent or legal guardian (a) is an active duty member of the uniformed services as defined by policy 4050, Children of Military Families, and (b) has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting.
D. School-Related Activities
While recognizing the importance of classroom learning, the board also acknowledges that out-of-classroom, school-related activities can provide students with valuable experiences not available in the classroom setting. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school:
1. field trips sponsored by the school;
2. job shadows and other work-based learning opportunities, as described in G.S. 115C-47(34a);
3. school-initiated and -scheduled activities;
4. athletic events that require early dismissal from school; and
5. Career and Technical Education student organization activities approved in advance by the principal;
In addition, students participating in disciplinary techniques categorized as in-school suspensions will not be counted as absent.
E. Makeup Work
In the case of excused absences, short-term out-of-school suspensions,14 and absences under G.S. 130A-440 (for failure to submit a school health assessment form within 30 days of entering school), the student will be permitted to make up his or her missed work.15 (See also policies 4110, Immunization and Health Requirements for School Admission, and 4351, Short-Term Suspension.) Assignments missed due to participation in school-related activities also are eligible for makeup by the student. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
F. Unexcused Absences
The principal shall notify parents and take all other steps required by G.S. 115C-378 for excessive, unexcused absences.
Any school disciplinary consequences for unexcused absences will be consistent with Section D of policy 4300, Student Behavior Policies. The superintendent or designee shall list in the Code of Student Conduct the specific range of consequences that may be imposed on a student for such offenses. Consequences may not exceed a short-term suspension of two days.
G. Chronic Absenteeism
Because class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process, any absences, whether excused or unexcused, can have a negative impact on a student’s academic achievement. Regular attendance must be prioritized within each school and encouraged throughout the community. School administrators shall monitor and analyze attendance data to develop and implement strategies for reducing chronic absenteeism. 19 Such strategies should involve engaging students and parents, recognizing good and improved attendance, providing early outreach to families of students missing school, and identifying and addressing barriers to attendance.
H. Special Circumstances
1. Students with Chronic Health Problems
No penalties will be imposed for absences due to documented chronic health problems.
2. Students Experiencing Homelessness
For students experiencing homelessness (see board policy 4125, Homeless Students), school officials must consider issues related to the student’s homelessness, such as a change of caregivers or nighttime residence, before taking disciplinary action or imposing other barriers to school attendance based on excessive absences or tardies.
3. Attendance Requirements for Extracurricular Activities
Absences may impact eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities. Principals shall inform students and parents of the applicable attendance standards for the various types of extracurricular activities, including interscholastic athletics. See also policy 3620, Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations.
Legal References: McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 11431, et seq G.S. 115C-47, -84.2, -288(a), -375.5, -378 to -383, -390.2(d), -390.2(l), -390.5, -407.5; 130A-440; 16 N.C.A.C. 6E .0102, .0103, .0106; State Board of Education Policies ATND-000, -003.
Cross References: Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations (policy 3620), Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students (policy 4023), Children of Military Families (policy 4050), Immunization and Health Requirements for School Admission (policy 4110), Homeless Students (policy 4125), Student Behavior Policies (policy 4300), Short-Term Suspension (policy 4351)
Revised: September 10, 2018, June 24, 2021