Excused vs. unexcused absenceNo matter the reason, when students are absent, they are missing out on important classroom lessons. But sometimes an absence is unavoidable.
In Maryland, an absence is considered lawful, or excused, once the parent or guardian provides a note explaining that the absence was due to one of the following reasons:
- Death in the immediate family (a parent note is acceptable)
- Illness (a parent note is acceptable for an illness up to three days; a doctor's note is required for illnesses lasting longer than three days)
- Court summons (the student's name must appear on the summons)
- Hazardous weather conditions (a parent note is acceptable)
- Observance of a religious holiday (a parent note is acceptable)
According to state law, an absence for any other reason is considered unexcused. Examples of unexcused absences are:
- School-approved activities or work
- Lack of authorized school transportation (school bus or MTA)
- District- or schoolwide closings due to inclement weather or other emergency conditions
- Caring for a younger sibling or family member
- Taking a family vacation
- Visiting the MVA to take a road test
Full-day vs. half-day attendance
Students are counted present for a full day if they are in school for at least four hours. They are counted present for a half-day if they are in school for two to four hours. Students who are in school for less than two hours are marked absent.