Attendance Guidelines and Board Policy
In accordance with BOE Policy 5200, attendance is very important at any grade level, but in High School, it has the added importance of being directly linked to the earning of course credit required for graduation. All school districts are required to have a policy and procedure that include a definition of unexcused absences that count toward truancy; thus, how “excused” and “unexcused” absences are defined for purposes of expectations and consequences regarding truancy, student conduct, promotion, retention and award of credit is a local decision (N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.6(a)3).
Prolonged or repeated absences, excused or unexcused, from school or from class, deprive students of the educational and classroom experiences deemed essential to learning. Prolonged or repeated absences may result in retention at grade level, loss of credit, or removal from a course that would satisfy high school graduation requirements, as outlined in the State Statute and Administrative Code.
Below is a summary of Attendance Thresholds per the District Attendance Regulation 5200:
- In a full-year course, students will be permitted 13 unexcused absences. When a student accumulates 14 unexcused absences, the student is placed in a loss of credit status for the course.
- In a three-quarter course, students will be permitted 9 unexcused absences. When a student accumulates 10 unexcused absences, the student is placed in a loss of credit status for the course.
- In a semester course, students will be permitted 6 unexcused absences. When a student accumulates 7 unexcused absences, the student is placed in a loss of credit status for the course.
- In a quarter course, students will be permitted 3 unexcused absences. When a student accumulates 4 unexcused absences, the student is placed in a loss of credit status for the course.
If you have questions related to these changes, please visit our Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page. If you have questions that have not been addressed in the FAQ document, please speak with your child's school counselor for clarification.
The following absences do not count toward truancy, but will count toward a student’s loss of credit:
- The student’s absence, due to illness, is confirmed by filling out the absence reporting form, written letter, or by an email from the parent/guardian.
- Where appropriate, when consistent with Individualized Education Programs, the Individuals with Disabilities Act, accommodation plans under 29 U.S.C. §§ 794 and 705(20), and individualized health care plans.
- Interviews with a prospective employer or with an admissions officer of an institution of higher education (verified by a dated letter from the organization).
The following absences listed below do not count toward truancy, and will not count toward a student’s loss of credit.
- Necessary and unavoidable medical or dental appointments that cannot be scheduled at a time other than the school day (verified by note from the doctor’s office).
- The student’s required attendance in court; (verified by court documentation).
- Examination for a driver’s license (verified by DMV documentation).
- Family illness or death supported by a written letter from the parent upon the student’s return to school or supported by notification to the school by the student’s parent/guardian
- An absence considered excused by the Commissioner of Education and/or a New Jersey Department of Education rule;
- The student’s suspension from school;
- An absence for a reason not listed above, but deemed excused by the Principal upon a written request by the student’s parent stating the reason for the absence and requesting permission for the absence to be an excused absence;
In addition to the locally developed absences listed above, the following are five allowable reasons for a State-excused absence that will not count toward a student’s loss of credit status:
- Religious observance (N.J.A.C. 6A:32-8.3(h)); For the list of State Approved Religious Holidays, go to https://www.nj.gov/education/holidays.shtml
- A college visit (up to 3 days per school year for students in grades 11 and 12); Verified by a dated letter from the school or a parent/guardian
- “Take Our Children to Work Day” or other rule issued by the Commissioner;
- Participation in observance of Veterans Day (N.J.S.A. 18A: 36-13.2) or district board of election membership activities (N.J.S.A. 18A: 36-33);
- The closure of a busing district prevents a student from having transportation to the receiving school.
Any absence not listed above shall be an unexcused absence, and count toward both truancy and loss of credit. For additional information, please refer to the Student Handbook. Student Handbook