Dear Parent/Legal Guardian:
RE: Revised Attendance Procedures to Reflect PA State Law
Dear Parent/Legal Guardian:
The start of school provides an opportunity to explain attendance procedures. Please take a few minutes to read through this information as it pertains to Pennsylvania State Law and QCSD Policy.
All absences require that a written excuse be submitted to the school within three (3) days of the student’s return to school. If a written excuse is not submitted within that time period, the absence is recorded as unexcused, otherwise known by the state of Pennsylvania as an “illegal absence”. Phone calls and emails notifying the school that a child is absent are appreciated, but do not replace a written excuse. A written excuse documenting an absence is required under the Commonwealth’s Compulsory Attendance Laws.
A written excuse must contain the following information: (1) name of the student; (2) the date(s) of the absence; (3) the reason for the absence; and (4) a parent or legal guardian’s signature.
Parents/guardians are not required to use the district’s official excuse form, which is a small form identified as the “Legal Form for Absence or Tardiness –
Excuses must be submitted to the classroom teacher or school secretary within three (3) days of the student’s return to school. Otherwise, it will be logged as an unexcused absence, as per PA state law.
In cases where a student has accumulated ten (10) or more days of absence (including trip requests), parents/legal guardians will be notified that future absences will require an excuse signed by a doctor. This is especially true if a number of the absences are unexcused.
Students must be in the classroom by 9:10 AM. If not, they are considered tardy to school. Once again, a written excuse, which contains the same information as an absence excuse and signed by a parent, is required. Minutes of unexcused tardy time will accumulate and can be compiled as unexcused absences.
Note: Students and visitors entering the building after 9:10 AM must enter through the main entrance and stop at the office for a pass before being admitted to the building. Parents should either enter with the student to sign tardy slips or should have the student enter the building with the tardy note in hand.
The state’s Compulsory Attendance Laws provides consequences for failure to submit written excuses. When a student accumulates a minimum of three (3) unexcused absences, parents/legal guardians can be notified by a document known as a “First Notice”. This document lists the dates of unexcused absences and serves to remind parents/legal guardians that written excuses must be submitted for all future absences. Once an absence is recorded as unexcused, it cannot be changed to an excused absence.
If a student accumulates more unexcused absences after a First Notice has been served, the parent/legal guardian can be cited for a violation of the Compulsory Attendance Laws of Pennsylvania. A citation is issued through the office of a District Court Justice. A parent/legal guardian has fifteen (15) days in which to respond to the citation. Responses include (1) paying the fine or (2) requesting a hearing before the District Justice. Failure to do either within 15 days results in the issuance of a bench warrant against the parent/legal guardian.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this information. The purpose of this letter is to promote positive attendance as required by Pennsylvania State Law and No Child Left Behind Federal legislation.
The Elementary Principals
Quakertown Community School District