It is imperative that students attend school regularly. While some absences for illness are unavoidable, nothing can replace the educational, cultural, and social contacts students experience through regular participation in class. Students with good attendance achieve more than students who are absent often. Attendance is also a major criterion in preparing students for the world of work.
According to state law, students must attend a minimum of 180 days of school a year. New state attendance requirements identify a student as absent if a student is not in attendance for at least 50% of the instructional day. Additionally, students designated as absent (regardless of the reason) for 10% or more days of instruction will be reported to the State Department of Education as chronically absent.
Written notes from the parent, guardian or attending physician must be submitted within three days after returning to school or the absence will be considered unlawful. An absence is considered lawful when it is the result of illness, death in the immediate family, emergencies, and recognized religious holidays. A limited number of parent notes may be accepted at the discretion of the principal.
South Carolina law states that a student is deemed truant after three consecutive unlawful absences or a total of five unlawful absences. School attendance personnel will contact the parent/guardian regarding unlawful absences and will schedule a conference to develop cooperatively a Student Attendance Intervention Plan, as required by law.
High school students who have more than five unlawful absences in a one-unit course or three unlawful absences in a half-unit course may lose credit for the course. Absences are counted in the high schools and middle schools by class, so students are encouraged to report promptly to every class.
If a school closes due to inclement weather, the school year may extend to allow students to make up the missed days to meet the 180 day requirement. In the event of inclement weather, school closings will be announced on local television and radio stations, posted on the website and district Facebook page, and phone calls will be made by the Edulink system.
For further information on attendance laws, contact Coordinator of Attendance Services Maria Thomas at (803) 469-6900, extension 414.