More important than ever, students registering a fever of 100.0 or greater or any of the many symptoms of both common ailments and COVID-19 must remain at home rather than come to school. In this case, the student’s parent or guardian should call the school’s office to report the illness, and the absence will be noted in the child’s record with the code ILL (for illness). Should the illness evolve into a more serious diagnosis or result in a visit to the family doctor, an original or faxed note from the physician’s office allows the school to convert the ILL to the M code. Documentation eliminates the absence from consideration under the state’s “chronic absenteeism” status, a truancy record, or credit loss.
Furthermore, should a symptom of illness be an early sign of COVID-19, required documentation of this diagnosis would convert the ILL to COV, which again would not be considered as either ILL or M and would have no consequence to the student’s absenteeism or credit standing. In all of these cases of illness, the student may make up any work missed during the absence for full credit, with time equal to the days missed, plus one.
In addition, absences will only be excused with appropriate documentation for the following reasons: personal or family illness (that may require family members to quarantine), death of an immediate family member, medical appointments, legal/judicial matters, religious holidays, extenuating circumstances of family emergencies.
The new policy revision explains that “chronic absenteeism” refers to a student who is absent 10% of the days in a school year, exclusive of a significant medical condition. A significant medical condition means a severe, chronic, or life-threatening physical or mental illness, infection, injury, disease, or emotional trauma. For the school year 2020-21, any COVID-19 related absences due to a child’s medical needs will be considered a significant medical condition. Medical documentation must be provided to substantiate any significant medical condition. Absences coded COV or otherwise designated as a significant medical condition will be excluded from consideration in the chronic absenteeism category.
Importance of Being in School Every Day
As we begin the blended model of school with only two days of face-to-face instruction, barring illness, it is imperative that students are in class every day. Family trips, vacations, non-school athletic contests or tournaments, and dance competitions are examples of absences that will not be excused and will be considered among the absences that must remain under 10%.
Virtual Edmond Attendance
A significant change in the recently amended attendance policy is in reference to distance learning or virtual attendance. On the days that a student is completing studies virtually, which in the blended model is three days a week, his/her attendance will be measured by his/her attention to staying on pace with the work assigned by the teachers.
Failure to log in or participate in the activities arranged by the teacher, such as posted curriculum assignments in Canvas, offline activities, research assignments, testing, face-to-face communications or meetings via video or teleconference, email, text or phone calls, will result in absences being recorded for the days away from the classroom. Should a child be sick during the remote days, the same expectations for a parent call or medical documentation to the office will result in extra time given for assignments, and an appropriate absence excuse recorded. The attendance for remote days will be recorded for the week by each of the student’s teachers on Monday for the previous week.
The recording of attendance bears no reflection on the grades earned during the week, only that the student was attending to work over the course of the previous week, whether their remote days were Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Change in Exemption Incentive for High School Students
Finally, the new policy does not provide any incentive related to attendance. Formerly, high school students could exempt one or more semester tests, depending on their attendance. The seriousness of COVID-19 has necessitated that no encouragement be given for sick and possibly contagious children to attend school in the hopes of being excused from an exam. Everyone must be vigilant all the time to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease.
PreK-8th Grade Attendance Considerations
The PreK-8the grade attendance regulation, #4205, varies only slightly from #4210, specifically, adding the truancy and chronic absenteeism prevention efforts applied in elementary school.
If you have additional questions, call or email your school’s attendance office or school administrators.