Attendance Information

The Board of School Directors of the Souderton Area School District recognizes that attendance is an important factor in educational success, and supports a comprehensive approach to identify and address attendance issues. Consistent with Pennsylvania law and regulations, will not condone nor permit absences from school for an unlawful reason. The educational program offered by this district is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation. Regular contact of students with one another in the classroom and participation in the planned instructional program under the tutelage of the teacher are vital to this purpose.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of every student enrolled in the public schools of the Souderton Area School District to be in daily attendance except for the following reasons:

  1. Personal illness.
  2. Quarantine of the individual or home.
  3. Recovery from an accident.
  4. Obtaining professional health care or therapy services rendered by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts in any state, commonwealth or territory.
  5. Death in the immediate family (five days maximum).
  6. Exceptionally urgent or safety reasons--must pertain to the individual student as determined by the principal or designee.
  7. All absences occasioned by observance of the student's religion on a day approved by the Board as a religious holiday shall be excused, and no student so excused shall be deprived of an award or eligibility to compete for an award or the opportunity to make up academic work and assessments given on the religious holiday.
  8. The Board shall, upon written request of the parents or guardians, release from attendance a student participating in a religious instruction program acknowledged by the Board. Such instruction shall not require the child's absence from school for more than thirty-six hours per school year, and its organizers must inform the Board of the child's attendance record. The Board shall not provide transportation to religious instruction.
  9. Suspension from school.
  10. Required court appearance.
  11. The Board shall permit a student to be excused for participation in a project sponsored by a statewide or countywide 4-H, FFA or combined 4-H and FFA group upon written request prior to the event.
  12. Those students in an approved program of homebound instruction.

Dental and Medical Appointments 
Attempts should be made to schedule medical and dental appointments at times other than during the school day. Students who wish to leave school for dental or medical appointments shall be required to bring a note from the parent/guardian prior to the appointment time. The district reserves the right for an administrator to require parents to obtain verification of dental and medical appointments from the medical provider. Students should not expect to be excused a full day for such appointments unless necessary because of travel time, other medical/dental appointments scheduled for the same day, or reasons that are medically excusable. A student who has an excused medical or dental appointment during school hours is to attend school until the time of dismissal and to return to school after the appointment, unless medical reasons prevent the student from returning to school. Attendance need not always be within school facilities. A student will be considered in attendance if present at any place where school is in session by authority of the Board; the student is receiving approved tutorial instruction or health care; the student is engaged in an approved and properly supervised independent study, work-study or career education program.

Non-Immunized Children 
No child may be admitted or permitted to attend the public schools unless the child has received immunizations as required by the Department of Health at 28 PA Code Chapter 23, Subchapter C (relating to exemption for immunization) or has received from the school district's Superintendent a medical or religious exemption from immunization under 28 PA Code Section 23.84 (relating to exemption for immunization). A child who has not received all doses of the required immunizations or has not been exempted for immunization, but who has received at least one (1) dose of each of the required immunizations, may be provisionally admitted and may attend public school for a period of up to five (5) days.

All FAMILY AND EDUCATIONAL TRIPS with a family member or guardian must have prior approval of the grade level Assistant Principal. Please state the student's name and grade in the request. Approval may be granted for requests for educational trips to a maximum of ten (10) school days per year. The Superintendent will review exceptions on a case-by-case basis. It is the student's responsibility to acquire assignments from each of his/her teachers prior to leaving on the trip.

Students in the 11th and 12th grades may be excused for COLLEGE VISITATIONS provided that they present the Attendance Office with a note or e-mail from their parent/guardian requesting permission for the visit. This request must be on file prior to the visit and must indicate the name of the post-secondary school they are visiting. If the above procedure is not followed, the absence will be unexcused unless the student provides verification from the school visited, including time and date of their presence.

Parental Notice of Absence
Absences shall be treated as unlawful until the district receives a written excuse or e-mail explaining the absence, to be submitted within three (3) days of the absence.

A maximum of ten (10) days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification shall be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond ten (10) cumulative days may require an excuse from a doctor (licensed practitioner of the healing arts).

A doctor's excuse may also be required for each single period of absence exceeding three (3) consecutive days.

In cases of excessive tardiness or early dismissals, a letter may be sent to the parent(s)/ guardian(s) indicating that the student will be required to furnish a doctor's note for any days absent, tardy, and/or dismissed early from that point. Tardies and early dismissals may accumulate towards unlawful/unexcused days of absence. Absence not covered by a doctor's note will be charged as unexcused or unlawful (if under 18).

In some cases, chronic illness may result in excessive absence from school. As these situations arise, in order to ensure consistency of care, the school nurse may request permission to communicate with a student's physician.

When a student has been absent for three (3) days during the current school year without a lawful excuse, district staff shall provide notice to the person in parental relations who resides in the same household. The notice will include description of the consequences if the student becomes habitually truant. If the student incurs additional unexcused absences after the issuance of the notice a School Attendance Improvement Conference will occur. Students that are habitually truant may be referred to the local children and youth agency and/or have a citation filed with the appropriate judge.

Additional information concerning attendance can be found in Policy 204 – Attendance.