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Information » Attendance and Absences

Attendance and Absences

Parent or medical notes for absences should be turned in as soon as the student returns to school.  
  • Please turn all notes in to the box outside the front office.
  • Students aren't allowed to have more than 5 unexcused absences per school year.
  • Students are allowed to use up to 5 parent notes per semester as excuses if medical or dental excuses are not available.
  • Please call Ms. Padgett at 706-855-6900 ext. 3502 with any questions about attendance.
  • Please view the county's attendance policy HERE.
  • Absence for special events form is HERE.  This will open as a word document so you may complete it and print it, or print it and then complete it.
  • If you or someone in your household has been exposed to Covid 19 please call the school immediately.

BOARD POLICY                                                                               Descriptive Code: JBD


ATTENDANCE AND SCHOOL CLIMATE                                  Date: July 26, 2022


Student Attendance and School Climate Protocol

A Student Attendance and School Climate Protocol Committee has been established by the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the Augusta Judicial Circuit for the purpose of ensuring coordination and cooperation among officials, agencies and programs involved in compulsory attendance issues to improve student achievement by reducing student absences from school, and to increase the percentage of students participating in required standardized tests. The committee will review and make recommendations related to school climate for the purpose of promoting positive gains in student achievement, student and teacher morale, community support, and student and teacher attendance, while decreasing student suspensions, expulsions, dropouts, and other negative aspects of the total school environment.


The attendance and school climate committee has set forth the following protocol to be used in identifying, reporting, investigating and prosecuting cases of alleged violations of O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1, relating to mandatory school attendance and appropriately addressing the issues with parents and guardians.



For the purpose of this protocol a student may be considered truant upon the accumulation of ten or more unexcused absences during the school calendar year.


Excused Absences

A student may be excused for the following reasons:


  1. Personal illness or when attendance in school endangers the student’s health or the health of others.
  2. Serious illness or death of an immediate family member (Immediate family includes parents or legal guardians, grandparents, siblings, and stepfamily.)
  3. A court order or mandated order of government agencies
  4. Special and recognized religious holidays practiced by their faith
  5. Conditions rendering attendance impossible or hazardous to student health or safety
  6. Registration to vote or voting in a public election (limited to one day)
  7. Days missed from school to visit with his or her parent or legal guardian who is in

military service in the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard prior to deployment to or during leave from an overseas assignment to a combat zone or combat support posting, up to a maximum of 5 school days per school year.

  1. Special events which reasonably necessitate absences from school (approval by principal

required prior to event)

  1. Days missed from school to attend military affairs sponsored events with his or her

parent or legal guardian who is currently serving or previously served on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, in the Reserves of the armed forces of the United States on extended active duty, or in the National Guard on extended activity duty up to a maximum of five school days per school year, not to exceed two school years, for the day or days missed. Documentation must be provided prior to the absence from:

(i) A provider of care at or sponsored by a medical facility of the United States

Department of Veterans Affairs; or

(ii) An event sponsored by a corporation exempt from taxation under Section

501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code

  1. Any other absence not explicitly defined herein but deemed by the local school board

of education to have merit based on circumstances, which may include non-school sponsored activities that meet the requirements set forth in section (2)(f)2. of this rule.


In accordance with O.C.G.A. 20-2-692.2, students in foster care shall be counted pres­ent when they attend court proceedings relat­ing to their foster care.


In accordance with O.C.G.A 20-2-692.3, students must be counted present when participating in activities or programs sponsored by 4-H, in the same manner as an educational field trip.  While participating students should not be counted absent, either excused or unexcused, for any day, portion of the day, or days missed from school.


In the case that a student’s personal illness or attendance in school endangers the student’s health or the health of others, the Columbia County Board of Education requires the student to present required documentation upon return to school for the purpose of validating the absence as excused. The school will allow up to five absences with medical excuses per semester on the authority of written parent notes.  Following five absences per semester excused by notes written by the parent or guardian, additional absences will be excused only with an original medical excuse signed by a health care professional. Parents must retain copies of all documentation of excuses for the duration of the school year and must present them to the applicable agency or Court upon request.  Parents or students who claim that the absence is properly excused bear the burden of providing copies of the medical excuses and/or other documentation of excuses, which may be demanded to be reviewed at any time. 


Failure to provide an excuse as defined in the “Excused Absences” section of this policy may jeopardize the student’s final exam exemptions, parking privilege, and extra-curricular participation. 


With proper verification, a student may be eligible for hospital/homebound instruction (S.B.O.E. Rule 160-4-2-.31).  Additionally, certain acute health conditions of the student may warrant a Health Care Plan coordinated by the school nurse, in concert with the student’s parent and attending physician, whereby provisions can be made relative to medically based absences for the student beyond those set forth in this protocol.


In the event of a serious illness in a student’s immediate family, the local board will require students to present appropriate medical documentation regarding the family member upon return to school for the purpose of validating that the absence is an excused absence.


School days missed as a result of an out-of-school suspension shall not count as unexcused days for the purpose of determining student truancy.


Extra-Curricular Activities

The school shall not allow a student to participate in any extra-curricular activities, co-curricular activities, or cooperative work experience if the student was not counted present for the school day. Students who have been deemed truant by the auspices of this policy shall lose eligibility for participation in extra-curricular activities for the remainder of the semester. 

Parental Notification

Upon the student’s fifth unexcused absence, the school will notify the parent or guardian when a student is in jeopardy of becoming truant as defined by this policy and any parent, guardian, or other person residing in this state who has control or charge of a child or children and who shall violate the Truancy Code, O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not less than $25 and not greater than $100, imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, community service, or any combination of such penalties, at the discretion of the court having jurisdiction.


Upon the student’s eighth unexcused absence, the school administration will convene a meeting with the parent or guardian and a school social worker to determine whether to begin the process of compiling an official truancy complaint to the Department of Juvenile Justice.


Upon the student’s tenth unexcused absence, the student and the parent shall be referred by the school to the Department of Juvenile Justice.  The parent or student may face penalties including a fine, loss of custody of the student, or incarceration for each day missed.



Students are expected to arrive to school and to their classes on time.  Middle and high school students who arrive late to class may be subject to school detention, Saturday School, in-school suspension, or out-of-school suspension. The parents of elementary students who have excessive unexcused late check-ins and/or early check-outs shall be referred by the school to the appropriate agency or legal authority having jurisdiction.  School principals should exercise their discretion in implementing progressive discipline.


Notification by Certified Mail

After two reasonable attempts to notify the parent, guardian or other person who has charge of the student, the Columbia County School District will send written notice via certified mail with return receipt requested.


The Columbia County School District requires that all its public schools provide the parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of each student enrolled in public school a written summary of possible consequences and penalties for failing to comply with compulsory attendance.


Statement of Receipt

By September 1 of each school year or within 30 school days of a student’s enrollment in the Columbia County School District, the parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of such student must sign a statement indicating receipt of such written statement of possible consequences and penalties.


In addition, students age ten or older by September 1 must sign a statement indicating receipt of written statement of possible consequences for non-compliance to the local district’s policy.

Driver’s License Eligibility

For a student to be eligible for a driver’s license or learner’s permit, school officials must certify that the student is enrolled and not under expulsion.


Students who have more than five unexcused absences may lose their right to park on school campuses.  The denial of parking privileges will be determined by the principal. 


The Columbia County Board of Education adopts, as a part of the student codes of conduct developed pursuant to O.C.G.A. 20-2-735 et. seq., a definition of truancy that contains the minimum standards related to student attendance and a summary of possible consequences and penalties for truancy established in state board rule (160-5- 1-.10).

Referral to the Legal Authority

In accordance with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-766.1, referrals to the appropriate legal authority may be made by school personnel at any time, if warranted, for children in need of services (CHINS). If the court finds that the parent or guardian has willfully and unreasonably failed to attend a conference requested by a principal, the court may order the parent or guardian to attend such a conference, order the parent or guardian to participate in such programs or such treatment as the court deems appropriate to improve the student's behavior, or both. After notice and opportunity for hearing, the court may impose a fine, not to exceed $500.00, on a parent or guardian who willfully disobeys an order of the court entered under this Code section.



O.C.G.A. § 20-2-690; § 20-2-690.1; § 20-2-691; § 20-2-692; § 20-2-692.3; § 20-2-701;

  • 40-5-22


Cross Reference:  CCBOE Policy JB




ADOPTED:  01/01/76

REVISED: 1/8/85, 1/12/88, 8/9/88, 7/11/89, 12/10/96, 3/25/97, 7/14/98, 8/10/99, 9/12/00, 7/27/04, 7/26/05, 6/13/06, 2/26/08, 8/26/08, 9/9/08, 7/12/11, 5/14/13, 7/8/14, 9/23/14, 7/24/18, 7/9/2019, 6/23/20, 7/26/22



Columbia County Board of Education