Sycamore Community Schools attendance guidelines have changed to reflect changes that were placed into effect by the State of Ohio through House Bill 410. These changes adjusted the way we monitor attendance from days to hours. It also defined the levels of truancy and the thresholds by which truancy is reached.
Click here for our attendance chart to assist families in understanding the revised system and how to report absences. The truancy threshold is based on time which is missed during the school day (excused or unexcused) and is used to calculate the total number of hours missed. Each minute whether from an absence, a tardy, a scheduled appointment, an early dismissal, etc. all count towards the truancy calculation.
An absence for a child may be considered excused when the parent calls or contacts the school by the required time in the enclosed chart until the limit of 10 is reached. At 10 absences, a note from a physician will be required. Families are encouraged to turn in a doctor’s note any time a student is absent from school while visiting with a medical professional. In order to be recorded as an excused absence, the note from the physician must be received in the attendance office within five days following the absence. This sound practice will assist the student with their attendance record.
It is important to note that “excessive absences” are currently defined in the law as “excused” or “unexcused.” While Sycamore policy allows for up to 10 excused absences before requiring a note from a physician, the state currently does not allow more than 38 hours in a month or 65 hours in a year or the child is considered to be “excessively absent.” If considered “excessively absent”, the student and parent will be required by law to participate in a student attendance intervention meeting which could lead to a referral to Hamilton County Juvenile Court, if positive changes are not seen with a student’s attendance.
Sycamore Community Schools recognizes that it may be necessary at times to take a student out of school due to illness, or for a doctor, dentist, orthodontist or other relevant medical appointments. Parents are encouraged to make arrangements the best that they can to avoid attendance issues. Students who must attend these appointments are encouraged to miss the minimum amount of time that they can to avoid any attendance issues during the school year. Students should return to school as quickly as possible to avoid missing valuable instructional time and enhancing their probability of academic success. There is little margin for error with these new guidelines. Sixty-five hours is the current equivalent of 10 school days at the elementary level and less than 10 days at the upper-grade levels.
Parents must also be aware that the new state guidelines do not allow for student vacations and extended weekends to avoid the potential of being placed into the student attendance intervention process. Although a principal is permitted to mark the absences as excused, the absences for the year will still count towards the calculations for the year. If the threshold is crossed due to these types of absences, the school district is required to hold an intervention process and monitor any future attendance occurrences. This could result in a student ending up in Hamilton County Juvenile Court due to these absences.
As has always been the case, it is imperative for students to attend school on a daily basis and to be in class for the entire class period of instructional time to increase the likelihood of student success.