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City schools change policy on attendance

Ironton students can expect some new rules when it comes to the being absent from school this year.

The district has revised its attendance policy for kindergarten through twelfth grade beginning this year.

“The main reason we decided to look at our attendance policy is the fact that there is research to show that student attendance is directly related to student learning,” said Dean Nance, Ironton Schools Superintendent. “If a student is not at school they’re not going to learn.”

Under the former policy, students did not receive credit for a class if they missed 18 days.

“What we decided to do is be proactive and head off problems in absenteeism before they become habitual,” Nance said.

Beginning this year, students are allowed to miss up to four days in each nine-week period. After four days, the students will be required to make up the instructional time on Saturdays or in after-school sessions. If a student misses more than 16 days, he or she will not receive class credit until the days exceeding 16 are made up.

The make-up time is not meant to be a punishment, Nance said. Rather, it is to allow the student time to make up their work and get the missed instructional time.

“The intention is to try to encourage students to come to school whenever possible and not become a habitual absentee problem,” Nance said. “When you think about it, in a school year, even allowing them to miss up to four days in nine weeks, most places of employment would not put up with them missing 16 days in a year.

“We’re trying to mold students into being productive citizens. We want to instill positive work ethics in students at a young age.”

The district also has guidelines for special circumstances in which a student cannot attend school, for instance, if a student is injured in a car accident or has a serious illness.

“We have policies that dictate when we provide instruction at home and the state has guidelines for students who cannot attend,” Nance said.

Teachers will go over the new policy with their students during the first week of school.

“Most people can operate within the rules as long as they know the rules,” Nance said.