This past flu season closed schools, filled hospitals and defeated immunizations. Many students were out of school for days at a time, but others came anyway. Gull Lake High School has an eight day absence cap, meaning students can only miss eight days of school until they can’t make up work. Unclear as to how strictly this rule is implemented or unstood, we looked to get clarification.
“At eight days, excused or unexcused, what happens is students may lose daily point assignments,” said principal Don Eastman.
Daily points come from regular assignments that the teachers give. Assessments including tests, quizzes and projects, can be made up despite the amount of days missed.
“For the student that was sick 10 days, and they were all excused… [they] should probably inform Mr. Simms or myself, and we would get information out to teachers that this student should not fall under consequence for the absence,” Eastman said.
The eight day rule is primarily implemented for students who ditch classes or take extensive vacations.
“There’s so many situations whether it’s truancy or vacations. Maybe the student is sick for six days, but then takes a 10 day vacation,” Eastman said.
Some students have more absences in one class than all of the others. This could be due to extreme tardiness or leaving early.
“The rule applies per class, so it’s easy if you’re gone eight days in a row each class counts the same,” Eastman said. “This happens a lot because there are a lot of students who don’t come to first block on time, so they have 15 absences in first hour and almost none the rest of the time; if it’s an extremely tardy issue that is causing you to be absent, we may say you’re still losing your daily points.”
There is also some confusion amongst students regarding how far excused absences can go. It turns out, whether excused or unexcused, the eight day absence cap still applies.
“Excused and unexcused doesn’t really tell the whole picture,” Eastman said. “Excused means that a parent called. There are some parents who call in every day, and it’s excused, but they weren’t sick, and they weren’t on vacation.”