12 Absence Limit

Once a student has reached 12 excused and/or unexcused combined total absences/gross tardies (scroll down for definition) or 6 unexcused absences/gross tardies in a class in the same semester, the student is now AT RISK OF LOSING CREDIT in that class, REGARDLESS OF THE GRADE BEING EARNED. A live phone call and email notification will be made to the parent/guardian warning of this risk of credit loss. Once the risk of credit loss has been communicated, the student must refrain from accumulating more absences and pass the class.

At the end of the semester, the deans of students will gather all pertinent information and review the files of all students who got 12 total or 6 unexcused absences/gross tardies to determine whether or not credit should be given. This decision will be made in collaboration with each student’s counselor and feedback from the classroom teacher. The outcome of this review will be printed on each student’s report card.

If the student did indeed lose the credit, a notation of N (grade withheld due to excessive absences) will appear. If the student did not lose the credit, the grade earned in the class will be printed. If a student earns an F in the class, that grade will be given and override the N described above.  If the loss of credit results in the student being in jeopardy of not graduating or needing to take a summer school class, parents will be notified by the student’s counselor or dean as soon as possible so that any arrangements can be made.  

Reason for absence

Counts toward limit of 12

Does not count toward limit of 12

Observance of a religious holiday


School-sponsored field trip 


In-school meetings with school staff (counselor/dean/social worker, etc.)


School-sponsored athletic/activity travel


Administrative reasons


In-school and out-of-school suspensions


Visits to school nurse






Gross tardies




Appointments (doctor, dentist, therapy, etc.)


Family reasons (emergencies, etc.)


College visits


Prearranged absence


Other non-school-related reasons


Tardies to class of more than 10 minutes: These have traditionally been considered an absence and counted toward the 12-absence limit. That is still the case. However, we are changing the name. Instead of calling these absences, we are changing the name to gross tardy. This new term gives a more accurate report of students’ presence or absence to class. ALL GROSS TARDIES COUNT TOWARD THE ABOVE ABSENCE LIMITS.

These current procedures allow for 24 total days of missed class--one day short of five weeks of school in a school year--before requiring documentation to explain additional absences.  Our desire is to provide support for families who need it and to make the process of having to provide documentation as easy as possible. We will continue to work toward addressing attendance needs equitably and increasing student attendance.  We welcome your feedback. Please direct it and any questions/concerns to me or Janel Bishop, lead dean of students, who also manages our attendance procedures at jbishop@oprfhs.org

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my student has three upcoming therapy appointments, and they have been absent only three other times. Should I bring in documentation for the three new appointments? 
No. All you have to do is call the Attendance Office (708-434-3104) to excuse the absences. Families don’t have to worry about providing any documentation for any absences (except hospitalizations) until after their student has reached 12 excused absences. We are trying to lessen the burden of acquiring documentation for every absence.

If I fill out the Prearranged Absence Form, will those absences still count toward the limit of 12?
Yes, those absences will still count. The purpose of the Prearranged Absence Form is not to provide relief from the absence limit. It is for teachers to have advance notice when possible that a student is going to be out of school for an extended period of time. This allows them to prepare school work to send with the student if the student is able to do school work while out, as well as to let the student know what will be missed during their absence and what they can expect upon their return. If filling out this form is too cumbersome or burdensome, especially during a difficult time, you can bypass this step altogether. Just be sure to call in to the Attendance Office to excuse the absences and provide any appropriate documentation if necessary.  

Can school staff provide any support to my family if we have a student struggling with attendance?
Yes. Your student’s Pupil Support Services (PSS) team (counselor, dean, social worker, and Multi-Tiered System of Support [MTSS] specialist) will work with your family to determine the needs and what interventions and supports can be provided. Please reach out to your counselor to request support if they haven’t already reached out to you.  

How will I know that my student is getting close to the limit?
Parents/guardians should regularly check their student’s attendance via Family Access. Parents/guardians will also be notified via calls and emails from the attendance office, through Skyward, and from counselors and deans alerting them to their students’ attendance counts and how close they are to the limit. Automated calls also go out every day informing of unexcused absences to classes.  

Which absences count toward the 12-absence limit and which ones do not?
See table on the left.

Wait. Does this mean that if I am sick or have after doctors’ appointments after hitting 12 absences they are automatically unexcused?
Not at all. But as noted earlier in this communication, we must have appropriate documentation within three days of the absence to excuse such absences. 

What if I my child hits 12 days due to appointments and hospitalization and then needs to go on college visits or be absent for another legitimate reason?  Will those absences be excused?
In our experience, these instances are exceptionally rare. As a result, this is the only instance in which we will accept documentation for an absence after three days of the occurrence. So if that documentation is provided, then yes. Such absences would be excused. 

My student has 10 excused absences and two gross tardies. How many more can they get before reaching the limit?
The student has reached the 12-absence limit and is now at risk of losing credit. You will be notified of this status.