Columbia School District


Attendance Policy

Click here for the Board of Education's Attendance, Excused Absences and Truancy Policy.

The Columbia Board of Education believes the school/classroom provides unique educational experiences for students to develop to their fullest personal and intellectual potential; therefore, absence from class has a direct, negative impact on the education of the student and his or her classmates. The school and classroom environments are designed to encourage interactions with teachers, to facilitate the exchange of ideas with peers, to research and discover facts, to develop concepts, to test hypotheses, and to nurture talents. Therefore, class attendance is the primary method for students to avail themselves of these growth and learning experiences.

As defined by state statute, parents or guardians are responsible to ensure regular and punctual attendance of their child/children at school. The administration and staff of Horace W. Porter School are committed to working cooperatively with parents, guardians and students to ensure all students attend all classes.

Attendance Procedure

Daily student attendance is recorded and maintained by the school.

Reporting Absences

Students who are absent from school are required to have a parent/guardian verify the absence by submitting a written note, by visiting, or by calling the Main Office at 860-228-9493 x176 before the start of school on the day of the absence. If written verification of the absence is required, then such verification should be received upon the student’s return to school. If an absence is not verified by the parent/guardian in this time frame, the absence will be considered unexcused until verification is received.

Students requiring more than five (5) consecutive absences due to illness or a medical issue must follow a written, Temporary Educational Plan collaboratively developed by parents, teachers and the administration. If possible, this Temporary Educational Plan should be developed before the absences occur or immediately after a parent/guardian notifies the school of the illness/medical issue.

The administration requests that parents/guardians schedule medical appointments outside of school hours when possible.

Excused Absences

The Board believes a student should not be absent from school without the parents’ knowledge and consent, therefore verification of an absence should be in writing by parent or guardian.

For absences one through nine, an absence shall be considered "excused" when a child does not attend school and appropriate documentation is provided by the student’s parent/guardian approving the absence, due to:

A. Illness or injury,

B. Death in the immediate family,

C. Religious obligation,

D. Court appearance,

E. School sponsored activity,

F. Lack of transportation that is normally provided by a district other than the one the students attends, (This reason does not require documentation.)

G. An emergency, or

H. Other exceptional circumstances and extraordinary educational opportunities pre-approved by a District administrator and in accordance with SDE guidelines. Written excuse for such absences should be submitted to school officials by the child’s parent or guardian. All other absences with or without written explanation shall be considered unexcused.

For the tenth absence and all others thereafter, the same reasons cited above shall constitute "unexcused" absence, even if the parent excuses the absence. Documentation is required for the tenth absence and all others thereafter, including documentation by a medical professional is required for illness, regardless of the length of the absence in order for the absence to be considered excused.

Family Vacations

Parents/guardians are strongly urged to arrange family vacations to coincide with school vacations to avoid unexcused absences for their child as student academic success could be hindered by lower grades due to the lateness of submitted assignments, excessive work-load and other obstacles related to lack of communication of an absence.

Note: Class and homework assignments will not be provided prior to the absence.

Attendance Requirement for Athletic & Extra-curricular Activities

Any student participating in any athletic or extra-curricular activity must be in school for a minimum of four (4) hours on the day of the activity or he/she will not be permitted to participate in or attend the activity.


Being in school on time each day is important to success in school and the development of good work habits. Students who arrive late to school in the morning (after 8:15 A.M. on regular and early dismissal days and after 10 A.M. on Delayed Opening days) must report to the main entrance Receptionist for a tardy pass and will be marked tardy on school records for that day.

Attendance/Tardy Review

The Administration will conduct a monthly Attendance/Tardy Review. Parents/Guardians will be provided with a written Attendance/Tardy Review if their child exceeds the absence/tardy levels listed below, per Columbia Board of Education Policy 5113.2(c):

When the student has four (4) unexcused absences in a month or ten (10) unexcused absences in any school year, a referral will be made to the appropriate staff. The appropriate staff will arrange a meeting with the parent or other person having control of the student to review and evaluate the reason for the student being a truant. This meeting shall be held not later than ten (10) days after the child is identified as a truant. If the parent or other such person declines to attend the meeting, that fact shall be documented and the meeting will be held. The appropriate staff will develop a plan to help improve the student’s attendance.