Update to New School Attendance Policy
At the Monday, Aug. 3, meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, Superintendent Leatha Williams gave board members an update regarding attendance policy. Williams stated there were “some things coming into play, as a result of house bills.”
Williams said House Bill 2550 “is going to show how we are going to start looking at attendance of special education students.” Williams said Wetzel County Schools would be required to apply the attendance policy to all students, regardless of disability “or anything else.”
Williams said the policies would be a change as in the past, the truancy policy “has not been as vigilantly enforced with students who have Individualized Education Programs or complications.”
Todd Barcus, director of attendance and student services, said the school board would be sending notes home at the beginning of the school year, explaining the changes. Furthermore, the school’s automated calling sytem would also be utilized to spread the word regarding the changes.
“Do our students with disabilities and IEPs miss a lot of school?” Board Member Carolyn Gatian asked.
Williams said that under the IEP, students can have exceptions with attendance policies.
“The reason this was looked at in the legislature is because we are still seeing a decline in student performance in areas of special education.”
“A lot of those students have doctors appointments,” Board Member Linda Kirk ermarked.
“This is true,” Williams said, adding that in “extended law code, it talks about what excused and uenxcused is and how many notes will be accepted and what exceptions are … It’s defined more closely because we changed the attendance policy in the state. We used to have five days unexcused, and it’s going to be three days unexcused. There are a lot of changes taking place.”