Attendance Policies

Student Attendance

Regular school attendance is an essential part of a student's learning process and a necessary means of graduating with a good education. Students who are frequently absent may be putting their futures in jeopardy by falling behind in academics and missing important socialization concepts that enhance their ability to understand and follow directions. Chronic absenteeism, especially truancy, is a behavior that is highly associated with dropping out of school. The school board believes that attendance is a key factor in student achievement. Any absences from school represent an educational loss to the student.  However, the school board recognizes that some absences are unavoidable.

The attendance staff works closely with students, parents, school personnel, and the community to remove barriers that affect student attendance in school.

South Carolina Compulsory School Attendance Law

All parents or guardians shall cause their children or wards who are in the age group of five to sixteen years, inclusive, to regularly attend a public or private school or kindergarten of this State which has been approved by the State Board of Education or a member school of the South Carolina Independent Schools’ Association or some similar organization, or a parochial, denominational, or church-related school, or other programs which have been approved by the State Board of Education; provided, further, that any parent or guardian which child or ward is not six years of age on or before the first day of September of a particular school year may elect for their child or ward not to attend kindergarten. For this purpose, the parent or guardian must sign a written document making such an election with the governing body of the school district wherein the parent or the guardian resides. The form of this written document shall be prescribed by regulation of the Department of Education. Upon such a written election being executed, that child or ward may not be required to attend kindergarten.

School Attendance Guidelines

Any student who misses school must present a written excuse, signed by his or her parent or legal guardian or a health care professional, for all absences within three (3) days of the student’s return to school.  The written excuse should include the reason for and the date of the absence.  If a student fails to bring a valid written excuse to school, his or her absence will be recorded as unlawful. Schools will use the criteria below when deciding whether an absence is lawful or unlawful.

Lawful Absences

  • Absences caused by a student's illness and whose attendance in school would endanger his or her health or the health of others. These absences must be verified by a physician statement within three (3) days of the student's return to school.

  • Absences due to an illness or death in the student's immediate family verified by a statement from the parent within three (3) days of the student's return to school.

  • Absences due to a recognized religious holiday of the student's faith when approved in advance. Such requests must be made to the principal in writing. (This does not include religious retreats and/or conferences)

  • Absences for students whose parents/guardians are experiencing a military deployment. Specifically absences when the parent or legal guardian of a student is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting, shall be excused as long as such absences are reasonable in duration as deemed by the principal so that the student can visit with his or her parent or legal guardian relative to such leave or deployment of the parent or legal guardian.

Any absences due to activities that are approved in advance by the principal; This would include absences for extreme hardships, such approval should be prearranged when possible.

Unlawful Absences

  • Absences of a student without the knowledge of his or her parents

  • Absences of a student without acceptable cause with the knowledge of his or her parents.

  • Suspension is not to be counted as an unlawful absence for truancy purposes.

  • If a student is given alternative punishment but elects OSS instead, the student will be deemed to be unlawfully absent.


Although the state requires students to only attend 170 of the 180-day school year, parents and students should be aware that SC Code of Regulations - Chapter 43-274 stipulates that a child ages 6 to 17 year is considered truant when the child has three consecutive unlawful absences or a total of five unlawful absences. For purposes of this section (truancy and compulsory attendance), a parent may provide up to 10 parent notes excusing a student's illness or an absence related to an immediate family member’s illness or death.  However, in order for any subsequent absence related to illness to be lawful a physician statement/medical note is required. 

If a student accrues three consecutive unlawful absences or five total unlawful absences within a school year.  The student is considered truant. If attendance is not improved, the parent/legal guardian and student may face court intervention and a referral to the department of social services. 

Intervention Plans

When a student meets the definition, by law, the school is required to have a conference with the parent/guardian to complete an intervention plan.  The purpose of the intervention plan is to identify reasons for student’s absences and record actions that must be taken by the parent, school, and student to improve student attendance.  The Clover School District recognizes that truancy is primarily an educational issue and will take all reasonable, educationally sound and corrective actions prior to resorting to the juvenile justice system.


Punctuality is a critical skill that a person can learn. It is a skill that must be developed early and may be applied to an individual’s success in their future endeavors. Parents should have students at school on time each day. Late arrival, results in interruptions to the learning process and the tardy student misses important instruction. Tardiness is a disciplinary issue; each school has guidelines for consequences for tardiness.

Contact Us

Mr. Courtney Jones, District Attendance Officer

Types of Absences

  • What are Lawful Absences?

    • Student illness, where attendance would endanger the students health or the health of others

    • Death or serious illness in immediate family

    • Recognized religious holiday of student's faith

    • Activities approved in advance by the principal

    What are Unlawful Absences?

    • Skipping school without parent permission

    • Missing school without an acceptable reason

    • Family trips/vacation

    • Any absence not covered under lawful absence list

    What are Some of the Consequences of Unlawful Absences?

    • Letters to parents notifying them of the number of days student has been absent

    • Conference with parent to complete an intervention plan

    • Referral to appropriate agencies

    • Home visit by school official

    • Court action

    • Possible failure or loss of credits

    Is It Important to Send a Note when my Child is Absent?

    Absolutely! When a student is absent from school he/she must present a written excuse signed by a parent/guardian. If the excuse is not presented within three days of the students return, and if it doesn’t meet definition of lawful absence, it will be recorded as unlawful.

Chronic Absenteeism

Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, a new definition of “absent” will be used to identify students who are chronically absent. As part of the implementation of the “Every Student Succeeds Act”, districts and schools are required to report to the South Carolina Department of Education the number of students who are chronically absent each year. According to the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), an absent student is one who misses 50% of the instructional day for any reason regardless of whether the absence is excused or unexcused. In other words, students must attend class for at least half of the instructional day to be considered present for that day.

Using this new definition, the OCR requires states to report the number of students in each district and school who are absent at least 10% of the time during which they are enrolled in a particular school or district. More specifically, students who are enrolled in the same school for an entire academic year and miss 18 or more days (10%) will be considered chronically absent. The total number of chronically absent students will be included on district and school report cards and reported to the OCR.

Chronic absenteeism is not the same as truancy.

Chronic Absenteeism


Chronically absent: Any student in grade K- 12 who misses 50% or more of the instructional day for any reason for 10% (or more) of the enrollment period.

•    All types of absences contribute to chronic absenteeism:

–  Excused Absences 

–  Unexcused Absences – Suspensions 

•    A student is absent if he or she is not physically on school grounds and is not participating in instruction or instruction-related activities at an approved off-grounds location for the school day.

Truant: A student between the ages 6– 17 who has accumulated unexcused absences on three consecutive days or has accumulated a total of five or more unexcused absences during the academic year.

•    Only full-day unexcused absences contribute to truancy. 

•    Excused absences and suspensions do not affect truancy

Because chronic absenteeism is associated with poor academic performance, increased dropout rates and decreased graduation rates, districts and schools are encouraged to make sure that parents are aware of this change. Once a student is identified as chronically absent, parents will be notified and asked to sign an acknowledgment form with information on how to work towards minimizing school absences. One significant change is the coding of early dismissals at the elementary level. In the past, when a student was signed out early, this was not indicated in PowerSchool attendance records with separate coding. Now parents may see an absence coding of SC – EDSM=Early Dismissal (the student was present for 50% of the school day and the student will be marked as present for the day) or SC – DSML=Dismissal (the student was NOT present for 50% of the school day and the student will be marked absent for the day), based on the time the student was signed out and/or the reason for the time away from school.

For more information about chronic absenteeism, please contact your building principal or Marguerite Brown-Canty at 803-810-8000.