KBS Reference Desk: Waiving Minimum Attendance Requirements for Seriously Ill Students

Q:        Did the Legislature make any provision in the Education Code to provide flexibility with attendance requirements for a student who experiences excessive absenteeism resulting from a serious or life-threatening illness, such as COVID-19?

 A:        Yes, HB 699 requires a school district to excuse a student from attending school for an absence resulting from “a serious or life-threatening illness or related treatment that made the student’s attendance infeasible.”

Under the “90 percent” rule, a student cannot be given credit or a final grade for a class unless the student is in attendance 90 percent of the days the class is offered.  This is true regardless of whether the absence is excused. HB 699, effective when signed by the Governor on June 7, 2021, provides an exception. Absences related to serious illness or treatment are now exempted from minimum required attendance for class credit or final grade.

To safeguard against concerns that a person might abuse the waiver of minimum attendance requirements, the student or the student’s parent or guardian must provide written certification from a licensed Texas physician specifying the student’s illness as serious or life-threatening and the anticipated period of the student’s absence relating to the illness or related treatment.

Additionally, HB 699 provides that the student cannot be denied promotion for failing to perform satisfactorily on the STAAR exam if due primarily to circumstances that resulted from the student’s health status. Notably, students who failed to perform satisfactorily last Spring because of their illness or treatment are subject to the accelerated learning committee and/or accelerated learning plan requirements under HB 4545.

Finally, HB 699 requires that a school district offer additional counseling and prohibits the district from referring the student to truancy court if the truancy was the result of the student’s illness or treatment. These requirements continue to apply if the district determines that the student’s truancy is the result of pregnancy, being in foster care, or homelessness.

For additional questions concerning attendance, contract your school attorney.

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: Interstate Travel Liability and Travel Forms Best Practices
January 21, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Updated Stay at Home Periods
January 14, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: On Call Employees Over Holidays
December 17, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Holiday Decorations
December 10, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Removal of Library Books
December 3, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Attendance Waivers
November 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 103 Texas Active Shooter Alert
November 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Remote Learning and ADA-Funding
November 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: CBD Oil
October 29, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Custodians of Record – TPIA
October 22, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Dyslexia Handbook Update
October 15, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Peace Officer Legislation
October 8, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 1525 PTO Donations
October 1, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: State Certifications Update – SB 13 & SB 19
September 24, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Accelerated and Supplemental Instruction HB 4545
September 17, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Active Threat Excercises
September 10, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 1927 Firearms
September 3, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Remote Participation in Board Meetings
August 27, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Inquiring About Vaccine Status
August 13, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Suspension of TPIA due to Catastrophe
August 6, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Standard for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
July 30, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Bullying Policies and Reporting SB 2050
July 23, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Homeschoolers and UIL
July 16, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Suspension Extension
July 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Revision to Resignation without Penalty Deadline
July 2, 2021