In Philadelphia County, school attendance is required for all children ages 6 to 17. Sometimes students have to miss school. These “excused absences” apply under circumstances such as:
- illness or injury,
- teen parent leave (six weeks or 30 school days) after the birth of a child,
- death/funeral-related absence,
- education-related trips or activities,
- suspension, and
- religious holidays.
A written notice from a parent or guardian must be submitted to the school immediately upon a student’s return to school. Such notice must include a valid telephone number or other means of contact for verification purposes. Certification of illness/injury/delivery is required if the absence extends for three or more consecutive days. The student/family has three days from the date of the absence to provide documentation to the school for an excused absence. After the third day, the school principal or designee has the discretion to approve or deny the note.
An “unexcused” or “illegal” absence occurs when a student is absent without a valid excuse in writing. That means that either no written notice was submitted to the school upon the student’s return or that the reason provided in the notice was deemed invalid. Examples of invalid excuses include (but not limited to):
- illness of a family member,
- family emergency,
- waking up late, or
- being on vacation with family.