The Black River Union #39 School District believes that regular attendance is necessary in order to obtain adequate understanding of the instruction and material discussed by teachers and students in the classroom. It is also recognized that the school has a responsibility to develop good attendance habits in preparation for the world of work and success in the 21st Century. In addition to this belief, Title 16, Section 1121 of the General Laws of Vermont requires regular school attendance by persons under the age of sixteen.


All excused (A) student absences require a parent or guardian to notify the Main Office (written note or phone call). Phone call or written notices are to be received at the Main Office by the day of a student’s return to school. Phone calls or written notices must include the reason for the student’s absence. Failure to call or provide a note will result in the absence being recorded as Unexcused (AU). Retroactive calls / notes from parents/guardians are not accepted.

Excused absences (A) include:

1. Emergency family situations such as death in the family.

2. Observances of recognized religious holidays when the observance is required during a regular school day.

3. School sponsored activities / meetings.

4. College visits.

5. Absences due to suspension or expulsion.

6. Appointments with health professionals that cannot be made outside of the regular school day.

7. Medical reasons (Medical absences exceeding 3 consecutive days, or on a continuous basis requires verification in the form of a doctor’s note).

*Additional absences are determined at the discretion of the Administration on a case-by-case basis.

As a school community, we also understand the importance of punctuality and take tardiness seriously. Research shows that people who are chronically late score lower on tests that measure nurturance, self- esteem, and self-discipline, and score higher on measures of anxiety and distractibility. Please ensure that your student is tardy for legitimate purposes only and limited as much as possible.

Early Dismissal and Tardies

Tardiness to school and early dismissals result in missed instructional time and are, therefore, subject to the same guidelines as absences. An excused tardy (T) is any tardy caused by one for the reasons on the excused absence list. A phone call/written excuse must be provided by a parent or guardian on the day of the tardy for it to be considered excused. The same policy applies to early dismissals.

With regard to late arrivals and early dismissals, including seniors with privileges, students are obligated to properly sign-in and sign-out of school through the main office. Students may sign out of school only for reasons indicated in “excused absences (A)”. Signing out for unexcused (AU) reasons will be considered as cuts.

Any student who wished to avoid receiving, or who needs to correct a Tardy Unexcused (TU) or Absent Unexcused (AU) must go to the Main Office.

On the third unexcused tardy (TU) to class, the student will be given an Office Detention. Subsequent tardiness will result in additional office detentions and/or In School Suspension.

Students who arrive to class late, without an excused pass, will automatically receive a TU from the teacher. Students are late if they are not in the classroom when the bell rings. If a student is late enough to miss half of a class, it will be recorded as an Absent Unexcused (AU) by the teacher unless the tardiness meets the requirement of an excused absence.

Excessive Absenteeism for High School

Excessive absenteeism is defined as the accumulation of ten (10) or more unexcused absences in a class. Excessive absenteeism will result in loss of credit in the course(s). Students must be aware of their attendance and avoid reaching the threshold of unexcused absences. Unexcused absences may trigger a loss of credit that could affect their future course scheduling and could even hinder a traditional graduation timeline. Refer to “Attendance Appeals Procedures."

Mandated Reporting

In the case of excessive absences for high school or middle school, Black River is a mandated reporter to the Department for Children and Families (DCF).

Excessive Absenteeism for Middle School

5 absences: Teachers will contact parent/guardians

7 absences: Letter sent to parents

11 absences: Parent meeting with team

15+ absences: EST referral and possible truancy referral

Attendance is critical for passing grades and final grade promotion.