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Attendance Procedures to Reflect Pennsylvania State Law
The purpose of this letter is to promote positive school attendance as required by Pennsylvania state laws and the No Child Left Behind federal law. Please take a few moments to read through this information as it pertains to Pennsylvania laws and regulations and RTMSD policies.
Ø An absent student must be called out for each day of absence from school. This helps to ensure the safety of your children. 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 to the office within that time period, the absence is recorded as unexcused and is deemed by the state to be an illegal absence. A written excuse documenting an absence is required under the state’s compulsory attendance laws.
o A written excuse must contain the following information: (1) name of the student; (2) student grade level; (3) the date(s) of the absence; (4) the reason for the absence; and (5) a parent or guardian’s signature.
o The school district provides excuse cards but you may use any paper to write the excuse. We are unable to accept excuse notes sent via email.
o In the case of an absence of three (3) or more consecutive days, the child must return the absence card or note accompanied with a note from a licensed health care provider within three (3) calendar days.
Ø Excessive Absences- In cases where a student has accumulated ten (10) or more days of absence, parents/guardians will be notified that future absences will require an excuse signed by a health care professional treating the student. Some types of absences will not count towards the ten (10) days including days excused by a doctor’s note, death of an immediate family member, required court appearances with documentation, religious holidays, college visits, suspensions and preapproved educational trips or tours.
Ø Unlawful Absences- The parent/guardian will receive a written warning when his/her child has his/her first and second unlawful absence. No action is needed from these letters. When a student accumulates a third unlawful absence, the state law requires that we send a document (“Official Notice of Child’s Unlawful Absence”) explaining that future unlawful absences will result in a petition to the local District Justice. Included in the Official Notice will be an invitation to a family/school conference. A Truancy Elimination Plan will be created during this conference.
Ø When a student is late to school, he/she must report to the office or designated late area with an excuse note before proceeding to class. Elementary students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Minutes of unexcused lateness will accumulate and can be converted into unexcused absences. This is determined by converting the number of minutes late into a percentage or part of the school day missed. Excessive lateness to school may result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of suspension from school. Please consult your child’s handbook for more details.
Family Trips and Educational Tours
Ø In order for days out of school to be approved for family trips or other educational tours, the “Parental Request for Pre-planned Educational Tour or Trip Form” must be submitted to the building principal a minimum of five (5) days prior to the trip. Please note that trips will not be approved during the standardized testing window. Trips taken without pre-approval by the building principal will be recorded as unexcused absences. Please refer to the reverse side of the request form for additional guidelines.
Ø The form is available on the school district’s website or through this link: Educational Trip Request. If you would like more detailed information about the state law and regulations, you can review the following link from the Pennsylvania Department of Education:
Pennsylvania State Compulsory Attendance and Truancy Elimination Plan
You can review the Rose Tree Media School District attendance policy with the following link:
RTMSD Board Policy 204 - Attendance
Thank you in advance for your attention to this information.
Rose Tree Media School District Principals