Absence Procedures

Each year in the recent past we have sought to increase student attendance and also respond to attendance concerns equitably. Ultimately, we are led by the knowledge that consistent, daily classroom instruction with as few interruptions as possible provides the best foundation for students to reap the obvious benefits in this learning environment. OPRF recognizes that many factors such as family needs, medical conditions and others contribute to a student’s ability to make it to school each day. It is with this in mind that we continue to review our practices and procedures and make changes based on your feedback in an effort to establish a set of procedures that achieves the desired outcome. 

Full Day Absences

For a full day absence to be excused, the student’s parent/guardian must call the Attendance Office before 9:00 p.m. on each day of the absence. Voicemail is available to leave messages. You will be asked to supply the following information:


  • Student name
  • ID number
  • Date(s) of absence
  • Reason for absence

Failure to contact the Attendance Office before 9:00 p.m. the day of the absence will result in an unexcused absence, and the student will be considered truant.

Partial Day Absences

Advance notice from a parent/guardian is required to excuse any absence related to an early dismissal or late arrival.  The phone number for the Attendance Office is 708-434-3104.

  1. Early dismissal/late arrival: Parents/guardians must call the Attendance Office in advance, no later than the end of the first period of missed class. A student excused to leave school early must report to the Attendance Office (Room 104) to receive an early dismissal pass and present it to Safety and Support when leaving the building. For convenience, a student can pick up the pass before school or during lunch, as long as the parent/guardian has already notified the Attendance Office.
  2. Returning to the building: Students who arrive late or return to class before the end of the day must report to the Attendance Office when reentering the building. The Attendance Office will supply students with an admit pass to their next class.
  3. Leaving due to illness or injury: Students who are ill or injured may be excused only by the OPRFHS Health Service Office/Nurse.  The nurse will contact a parent/guardian to authorize the early dismissal.  For safety reasons, students authorized by the school nurse to go home on their own are to call the Health Service Office when they arrive.
  4. Leaving due to emergency: Students who need to leave school due to an emergency that is not illness or injury may be excused only by their dean, counselor, or the Attendance Office.

Unauthorized absence. Students who leave school without proper authorization as outlined above will be unexcused.  Parent/guardian calls after a student leaves school without following the above procedures will not excuse the absence(s) and will be subject to school consequences for unexcused absences.

Students are allowed full makeup privileges for excused absences:

  • Illness and/or doctor’s appointments
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Family emergency
  • Prearranged absence
  • Observance of a religious holiday
  • School-sponsored field trips
  • School-sponsored athletic/activity travel
  • Nurse appointments for an entire period
  • Hospitalization
  • Guidance appointments
  • Administrative reasons

Extended Pre-Arranged Absences

Absences for an extended period such as for medical purposes, college visits, and civic and religious programs must be arranged in advance. Whenever possible, activities should be planned during vacation periods. The student has the responsibility for making prior arrangements with his or her teachers to make-up homework and tests.

  1. The student must obtain a pre-arranged Absence Form from the Attendance Office (Room 104).
  2. The form must be signed by all of the student’s teachers.
  3. The form must be taken home, read, and signed by the student’s parent.
  4. The form must be signed by the student’s Counselor.
  5. The form must be returned to the Attendance Office prior to the absence.

Unexcused Absences

Failure to contact the Attendance Office before 9:00 p.m. on the day of the absence will result in an unexcused absence and the student will be considered truant. In addition, any absence not covered by the reasons listed for excused absences will be considered unexcused.  A tardy of more than 10 minutes will be considered an unexcused absence.  Single-period absences will only be excused if they are pre-arranged through the Attendance Office. Oak Park and River Forest High School does not recognize or condone any “ditch days.”  Truancy is an infraction as described in the Code of Conduct.  The Dean of Students handle all attendance related infractions.

Parent or Guardian Notification of Unexcused Absences

Unexcused student absences will be reported to the parent or guardian via the automated calling system.  Calls will be made to the home phone number unless the parent/guardian requests a secondary number be contacted.  It is extremely important that the parent/guardian promptly notify the school when there is a change in phone numbers.

Excessive Absences

Once a student has reached 12 total absences (excused and/or unexcused combined) or six (6) unexcused absences 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 notification will be made by the attendance office staff 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 Dean of Students will review the files of all students who got 12 total or six (6) unexcused absences 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. 

Click here for more information about the 12-absence limit.