Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: JH-R

Student Attendance


  1. Reporting and notification procedures:
    Parent(s)/guardian(s) are expected to notify the school regarding a student’s absence on the day of the absence. An absence must be reported either by note, email or phone call.

    Ten or more absences in a school year is considered to be excessive by the Sioux Falls School District.

    Parents/guardians/students are encouraged to provide professional medical documentation when absent for medically related absences. If requested, students who were absent from school for any reason shall submit in written form the specific reasons for their absence, the specific days or times they were absent and a signature of the parent/guardian. When the students’ absences are deemed excessive, 10 or more days, schools will require verification of absences from a doctor, dentist or other medical professional.

    After attendance is collected each morning, elementary and middle school office personnel begin calling parents/guardians who have not notified the school regarding a student’s absence. Student safety is the main concern and this procedure provides another check on a student’s absence.

    At the high school level, after the first five days of school, once during the school day and once each evening between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m., an automated system calls the parents/guardians of students who have not notified the school regarding a student’s absence that day. This procedure is intended to notify parents/guardians who may be unaware of the student’s absence and to remind others of their responsibility to provide notification when a student will be absent.

    Middle School and High School: Classes missed because of attendance at a school sponsored trip or activity will not be considered an absence. However, the student will be required to make up work missed.

  2. Absences will be classified and recorded according to the following categories:
    • Death in family/funeral
    • OSS Alternative attendance
    • Court Summons with note
    • Illness of student without medical noteIllness of student with medical note*
    • Illness when student sent home from school*
    • Religious holidays
    • Hazardous weather
    • Parent/Guardian requested absence
    • Principal authorized absence
    • Documented medical appointment
    • OSS and did not attend OSS Alternative
    • Skips
    • Unauthorized/ Not Notified
    • Unexcused after ten days
    • Illness after ten days
    • Department of Health authorized
      * Documentation for students who have a chronic illness or medical condition will be in accordance with Policy/Regulation JLCG/JLCG-R - Program Access for Students with Disabilities or Students with Substantially Limiting Health Impairments.
  3. Interventions for Attendance Issues:
    Skipping a high school non-credit bearing class, or middle school class, will be dealt with according to Policy/Regulation JK/JK/R – Student Discipline, Class II.

    Recognizing the importance of school attendance, staff members shall work to improve attendance at each school by:

      • Schools will verbally notify students and/or parents/guardians of attendance records, go over the consequences of excessive absences, and encourage attendance.
      • At five and eight days of absence an attendance letter and/or other communication will be sent to the parents/guardians informing them of their student’s attendance concerns unless extenuating circumstances apply. Additional letters will be sent for those students whose absences are excessive.
      • The District will implement an intervention pyramid to individually support students with barriers to attending school.
      • A District Attendance Council will meet quarterly to develop/implement District attendance initiatives. Building attendance teams will work regularly each month to address building attendance initiatives and interventions.
      • Students with excessive absences may be referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office for truancy citations or other legal violations that may be issued to the students or students’ legal guardians in cooperation with law enforcement and the judicial system. The District’s Social Workers are appointed as the District’s Truancy Officers.

        Making up work for absences:
      • If requested, teachers are expected to provide up to five days of assignments in advance of a planned absence. Assignments for planned absences that extend beyond five days will be available upon the student’s return to school. Tests, speeches, or special projects must be completed and submitted on the first day following an absence.
      • Schoolwork missed must be made up within two times the number of days absent not to exceed six days. The time allowed for the makeup work may be extended at the discretion of the classroom teacher.
      • When a student’s attendance impacts academic performance, the student’s schedule may be modified, or the student may be placed in a credit recovery program.
      • These options may not be available if the absence is for skipping or not attending OSS Alternative, dependent on the individual student’s behavior or attendance plan.
  4. Marking Attendance
    1. Elementary School Attendance
      • Attendance will be tracked by the instructional minute. A student’s lunch period does not count towards instructional minutes.
      • A student who reports within the first thirty minutes of the start of the school day (tardy), or leaves within the last thirty minutes (leaving early) of the day will not be marked absent. Students arriving late, or leaving early, will be checked-in, or checked-out, at the administrative office.
    2. Middle School Attendance
      • Students will be marked ½ day absent for every five cumulative periods of absence.
      • Students will be marked one day absent for every nine cumulative periods of absence.
    3. High School Attendance
      • Students will be marked ½ day absent for every three cumulative periods of absence.
      • Students will be marked one day absent for every six (6) cumulative periods of absence if in 12th grade, and seven (7) cumulative periods of absence if in 9th – 11th grade.
    4. When a student has fifteen consecutive absences for skipping, or when the school is not-notified of the reason for the absence, the student will be dropped from enrollment. The student may subsequently re-enroll at any time at their home attendance center.

Tardiness and leaving early

  1. Tardiness is defined as a student’s initial appearance to an assigned area at any time after the designated starting time. At high school, tardiness is also referred to as “sweep.”
  2. Leaving early is defined as the departure from an assigned area at any time before the designated ending time.
  3. A student who is tardy, or leaves early, should report to the administrative/attendance office.
  4. Teachers will emphasize the importance of being on time and explain the classroom rules and procedures for tardiness. Tardiness sanctions should be consistently applied and should be sequential.


Legal References:

SDCL Ch. 13-27 Compulsory School Attendance
South Dakota administrative rule 24:17:03:06. Mandatory dropping of students.

Related Policies/Regulations:

JK/JK-R Student Discipline
JLCG/JLCG-R Program Access for Students with Disabilities or Students with Substantially Limiting Health Impairments


Regulation   Board Action (formerly 5110(a), 5110(b) & 5110(c))
Approved 07-08-85 22227  
Amended 09-08-86 22984  
Amended 09-11-89 24969R  
Amended 06-25-91 26240  
Revised 07-08-96 28543  
Revised 09-28-98 29170  
Revised 01-08-01 29762  
Revised 01-28-08 34943 (effective 8-18-08)
Revised 11-14-11 36215  
Amended 10-08-12 36474  
Revised 03-10-14 36857  
Revised 04-13-15 37178  
Revised 06-13-16 37488  
Amended 06-12-17 37788  
Amended 09-13-21 38949