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Important Change in Definition of “Compulsory School Age”
Effective in 2020-2021, all children from the age of six (6) through the age of eighteen (18) must comply with compulsory school attendance requirements. To meet these requirements, parents must ensure that their child between the ages of 6 and 18 is attending or participating in one of the following: a public elementary, middle, or high school; a public charter or cyber-charter school; a private licensed academic or private religious school; home tutoring by a certified teacher; or an approved program of home schooling. Children may be excused from compulsory attendance for documented medical or other compelling reasons as outlined in District attendance policy and procedures.
The Pennsylvania School Code mandates that every child attend school on a regular basis and has established laws and guidelines to achieve good attendance. Being in school every day is critical to the success and advancement of students in all grades. Good attendance habits are essential life and work skills. It helps children achieve academic success, time management skills, dependability, reliability, planning, dedication, persistence, and perseverance. The Manheim Township School District’s attendance policy supports good attendance habits and adheres to the requirements established by the Commonwealth.
Students are permitted 10 excused absences (outlined in the student handbook) verified by a parent note per school year. This includes sick days (verified by a parent note) and educational trips.
Absences shall be treated as unexcused until the district receives a written excuse explaining the absence, to be submitted within three (3) days of the absence.
After the 10 parent note excuses, a letter will be sent home requiring all future absences to be verified by a doctor’s note.
Late arrivals due to a medical appointment require a doctor’s note upon arrival to school. Early dismissals for a medical appointment requires a parent note that morning so that your school has advanced notice and a doctor’s note upon return to school. Without the doctor’s note these absences will be coded as unexcused. Please return your child to school as soon as possible if the appointment was not associated with an illness.
Vacations are not a lawful excuse in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We do recognize Educational Trips and Tours limited to 5 days per school year. A request form (available at the office or online) must be received at least 5 days prior to the trip and approved by the principal. Any days requested beyond the 5 approved cumulative days will be coded as unlawful. When planning educational trips, we urge parents to schedule them during summer months or during our breaks so minimal negative educational impact is experienced by your child.
Parents will be sent letters notifying them when their child has 1, 2, 3, and 6 unlawful absences. After the 3rd unlawful absence a School Attendance Improvement Plan will be developed by a team consisting of certain school staff members, your child and you to develop actions to improve attendance. At 6 unlawful absences a prosecution may be filed before the Magisterial District Judge.
If you have any questions regarding the attendance policy, please contact your child’s school for clarification.