Excused vs Unexcused Absence
Regular school attendance is necessary for mastery of the educational program provided to students of the district. At times, students may be absent from class or not able to participate remotely. School staff will keep a record of absence and tardiness, including a record of excuse statements submitted by a parent/guardian, or in certain cases, students, to document a student’s excused absences. The following principles will govern the development and administration of attendance procedures within the district:
The following are valid excuses for absences: School Board Policy 3122:
- Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including, but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental, optometry, pregnancy, and in-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health)
- Family emergency, including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family
- Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction
- Court, judicial proceeding or serving on a jury
- Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview
- State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055
- Absence directly related to the student’s homeless or foster care/dependency status
- Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010
- Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to chapter 392-400 WAC if the student in not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying “course of study” activities defined in WAC 392-121-107
- Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying
- Absences due to a student’s migrant status
- An approved activity that is consistent with district policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian, or emancipated youth.
- Absences related to the student’s illness, health condition, or medical appointments due to COVID-19
- Absences related to caring for a family member who has an illness, health condition, or medical appointment due to COVID-19
- Absences related to the student’s employment or other family obligations during regularly scheduled school hours that are temporarily necessary due to COVID-19 until other arrangements can be made, including placement in a more flexible education program
- Absences due to the student’s parent’s work schedule or other obligations during regularly scheduled school hours, until other arrangements can be made
- Absences due to the student’s lack of necessary instructions tools, including internet broadband access or connectivity
- Other COVID-19 related circumstances as determined between school and parent or emancipated youth.
School principals (or designee) have the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria for an excused absence.
According to School Board Policy 3122, any absence from school for the majority of hours or periods in an average school day is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria for an excused absence.
As a means of instilling values of responsibility and personal accountability, a student whose absence is not excused will experience the consequences of his/her absence. A student's grade may be affected if a graded activity or assignment occurs during the period of time when the student is absent.
The school will notify a student’s parent or guardian in writing or by telephone whenever the student has failed to attend school after one unexcused absence within any month during the current school year.
Ephrata Schools will follow a specific process to work with parents/guardians and students experiencing unexcused absences.