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Attendance Expectations

State waivers for fiscal year 2021 have allowed local school systems to amend attendance regulations as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. Bulloch County Schools will adjust its attendance processes and procedures in order to be able to provide the appropriate responses to students and families dealing with COVID-19 related illnesses and the impact on their attendance. 

It is important to note that Georgia’s Compulsory Education laws are still in effect, and it is still the foundation that keeps student attendance and engagement as one of the most important factors related to academic success. With the implementation of Bulloch County Schools' Virtual Program, the school district will continue to develop specific criteria for engagement and academic progress that will be used to measure student attendance, and these will be communicated to stakeholders.

The following information regarding Georgia's Compulsory Education laws' requirements should be read and adhered to in conjunction with new Bulloch County Schools attendance processes and procedures as they are finalized. Information listed in the Student Handbook regarding attendance policies from previous school years has been left as examples of best practices for students.

Attendance Awards

Perfect attendance awards will not be given for the 2020 - 2021 school year. 

Health Self-check

Should not attend school or work until cleared for return

Compulsory Education Information & Previous School District Attendance Policies

It  is  imperative  that  all  children  between  the  ages  of  6  and  16  attend  school  regularly,  on  time  and  for  the  full day, in  accordance  with  (O.C.G.A.  20-2-690.1).  Excessive  student  absences,  whether  excused  or  unexcused,  can  be an early  warning  sign of  poor  academic  achievement  and can put  a  child at  risk to drop out  of  school.  A  child shall not  be  absent  from  school  or  from  any  class  or  other  required school  hours  except  for  illness, other  providential cause, or  with written permission from  a  teacher,  principal, or  their  duly  authorized school  official.  No student shall  encourage, urge  or  counsel  other  students  to  violate  Georgia’s  compulsory  school  attendance  law. 

  • Absences  are  recorded  as  either excused  or unexcused.
    • A written  excuse from  Parent/Guardian  Required  -  Parents/guardians  must  submit  a  signed, written excuse for  all  absences. 
      • The excuse must  specifically  state the date(s)  and  reason  for  the  absence. 
      • After  a  student  incurs  the  fifth absence, further documentation or  a  physicians’  excuse  may be required. 
      • All  excuses  are evaluated  by  a principal  or  a designee to  determine if  the absence is  excused, unexcused, or  pre-approved.
      • In  order  for  any  absence  to  be  considered  as  excused, the  student  must  present a written excuse within five  school  days  after  returning  to school. 
  • Perfect  Attendance Awards  -  To  have  perfect  attendance,  a  student  shall  have  no  absences, tardies, early  dismissals. These awards have been cancelled for the 2020 - 2021 school year. 
  • Make-up  Work  -  Students  shall  be  permitted to make  up any  work missed  during  an  excused absence. Work missed due  to an unexcused absence  may  be  made  up at  the  discretion of  the  principal  or  his/her  designee under  extenuating  circumstances.
  • Out-of-School  Suspensions  -  Absences  due to out  of  school  suspensions  are  recorded as  an excused absence. 
  • Absences  which  are considered  excused  - Georgia law  and State  Board  of  Education  policies  allow absences  to  be  recorded  as  excused  for  the  following reasons: 
    • Personal  illness  or  when  attendance  in school  would endanger  the  student’s  health or  the  health of  others; 
    • A  serious  illness  or  death  in a  student’s immediate family  that  necessitates  absences from  school; 
    • Celebrating  special,  recognized  religious holidays  observed by  their  faith, necessitating  absence from  school; 
    • A court  order  or  an order  by  a  governmental agency,  including  pre-induction physical examinations  for  service  in  the armed  forces, mandating  absence  from  school; 
    • Conditions  rendering  school  attendance  impossible  or  hazardous  to student  health or safety; 
    • One day to register  or  vote  in public  election; 
    • Parent  being called  to duty  for  or  is  on  leave from  overseas  deployment  to a  combat  zone or  combat  support  posting  (up to five  days); 
    • Attendance  at  military  affairs  sponsored  events  (up to five  days), provided  the  student documentation prior  to absence  from: 
      • A  provider  of  care  at  or  sponsored by  a  medical  facility  of  the  United States  Department  of Veterans  Affairs;  or 
      • An event  sponsored by  a  corporation exempt  from  taxation under  Section 501(c)(19)  of  the Internal  Revenue Service. 
    • Students  in grades  9-12  who visit  prospective  colleges, up to a  maximum  of  five  (5)  days  per  year  if the  student  receives  approval  from  school  administrators  prior  to the  visitation. 
  • Absences  Counted as  Present 
    • ​​​​​​​Pages  for  the Georgia General  Assembly  -  Students  are recorded  as  present  (not  absent)  when they serve as  pages  of  the Georgia  General  Assembly.  Documentation  is  required. 
Attendance Support Teams

Each  school  has  an  attendance  support  team  who  focuses  on  prevention  and  early intervention  of  attendance  problems. The  team  may  include  school  administrators, counselors, social  workers, and  other  school  staff. Preventative  strategies  may  include  efforts  to provide  a  safe  and positive  environment, relevant  and  engaging learning experiences, and school  activities  that  develop a  sense  of  connection. In  addition to these  strategies, the  attendance  support  team  may  also provide  communication about  attendance to the  parent  in the  form  of  telephone  calls, letters,  home  visits, and electronic mail. The  purpose  of  this  communication is to inform  parents  that  their  child could be  at  risk for  decreased school  performance. 

  • The  school  sends  an  attendance  letter  to the  parent/guardian upon the  6th, 12th and 18th  absence. 
  • The  school  may  invite  the  parent/guardian to a  meeting  if  a  12th  absence  occurs.
  • The  purpose  of  the meeting  is  to discuss  attendance,  create  a  plan to improve  attendance and  offer  supportive services,  if needed.
  • Attendance  is  monitored weekly  by  the  attendance  support  team.  If  the  student’s attendance improves, no further  action is  taken
  • The  school  may invite  the  parent/guardian  to  a  second  meeting  if  an 18th  absence  occurs. At  this  meeting, the  plan is  reviewed  and adjusted to ensure the absences  decrease.
  • If  attendance  does  not  improve  after  a  second  meeting,  the school  system  may  refer  the  attendance  issue  to the  Bulloch County  Magistrate Court  or  other  court, the  Georgia  Department  of Family  and  Children’s  Services, or  other  supportive  agencies.  In addition, if  unexcused absences  continue,  possible consequences  may  apply  to the   parent/guardian pursuant  to O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1: 
    • $25-100 fine  per  unexcused absence 
    • Imprisonment  not  to exceed 30 days 
    • Community service 
    • Any  combination of  the  above consequences 
Attendance  Events  for  Hardship,  School  Choice Privilege, and Out-Of-Zone Students

This  information  is  for  students  who  gained  entrance  into  schools  outside  of  their  attendance  zones  via  the former hardship application procedure, House Bill  251 School  ChoiceSenate Bill 10 Special  Education School  Choice, Bulloch County Board of Education's JBCCA Student Assignment to Schools (School Choice Privilege) Policy, as  well  as  students  who move  outside  of  their  school  zone  during  the  course  of  the  year. 

  • Schools  will use  attendance  events  to  determine  if  students  will  be  moved back to their  home attendance  zone  school. Attendance  events  are  defined  as  unexcused  tardies,  unexcused  absences, and late  afternoon pickups. Tardies  at  the  middle  school  and high school  level  will  be determined  by  first period  tardies. 
  • Once a student  reaches  12  attendance  events,  the  principal  has  the  discretion  to  move  the  student back to his/her  home  attendance  zone  school.