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JH-School Attendance

Policy JH

Adopted: December 16, 2010
Amended: August 20, 2020

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The Committee recognizes that regular and punctual school attendance is essential for success in school, and that the district shares responsibility with parents in ensuring that students attend school regularly in accordance with Massachusetts General Law. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school regularly and punctually, and the school is responsible for notifying parents consistent with Ch. 76 §1A if their child is absent from school. 

Excused Absences or Tardiness 

Students may be excused from attending school or being tardy for the following reasons: 

  • Exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including: 

  • Fever (100° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills 

  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough) 

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 

  • New loss of taste or smell 

  • Sore throat 

  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms 

  • Muscle aches or body aches 

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea 

  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms 

  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms 

● Chronic or Long-term Illness or quarantine, 

● Bereavement, 

● Weather so inclement as to endanger the child’s health and safety, 

● Observance of religious holidays in accordance with the family’s religious beliefs, 

● Other exceptional reasons with previous approval of the school’s Principal. As written in each school’s handbook, parents shall provide an explanation for a child’s absence or tardiness, either in writing or via telephone to the school nurse. 

Extended Absence Students who will be out of school for extended periods of time (1 month or more) should contact their building principal to inform the school. The school district will not be responsible for curriculum, instruction, or assessments missed during this absence. 

Denial of School Attendance The following will be grounds for denying a student’s attendance in the Hopkinton Public Schools: 

● Previous graduation from high school or equivalent secondary school curriculum, 

● Failure to meet age requirements for kindergarten entry (Policy JEB), 

● Residency outside of Hopkinton unless allowed under School Choice or in the case of international students, a proper visa, 

● Failure to meet residency requirements of the Hopkinton Public Schools Admissions and Residency Policy (JF). 

Attendance Officer The school district employs an Attendance Officer consistent with the requirements of Ch. 76 §19. The Attendance Officer is required to investigate all cases brought to his/her attention by a Principal when a student fails to attend school regularly or is habitually tardy, or if a student’s attendance could be denied based on the conditions listed above. 

With the understanding that during the pandemic, if a student exhibits symptoms of COVID19, he or she may need to be quarantined perforce for an extended amount of time, it is a crime for a responsible parent or guardian not to cause a child to attend school for any other reason than those listed above. If a child fails to attend school for seven full-day sessions or fourteen half-day sessions within any six-month period, the supervisor of attendance may file a complaint in court against the parent and/guardian who is responsible for the student. 

The Attendance Officer will also determine if anyone has unlawfully induced a minor to be absent or truant from school and if so, bring this to the attention of the Superintendent who may bring charges under C. 76 §4. 

Legal References:

M.G.L. 76:1; 76:4; 76:12, 76:12A, 76:12B; 76:16; 76:19; 76:20; 71:37H

603 CMR 26.00

Cross References:

JF - School Admissions and Residency Requirements

JEB - Requirements for School Entrance

Student Handbooks

GBEB/JLCC Communicable Diseases

School Committee Policies