Parents are required to call the attendance voice mail number 717-684-7500 and press “1” to reach the absentee line prior to 8:30 a.m.

The Board requires that school-aged students enrolled in the schools of this district attend school regularly in accordance with the laws of the state. The educational program offered by the district is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation.


Parents are required to report a child’s absence prior to 8:30 a.m. The phone call must be followed with a written excuse from a parent/guardian submitted within three school days after the last day of absence. At any time that the school is unaware of a reason for a child’s absence, a call may be made to the home to verify the child’s absence. If a student is absent, arrangements can be made via voice mail to secure assignments for the student. These assignments can be picked up in the student service’s office at the end of the day. Absence notes must be turned into the main office immediately (upon the student’s return). Failure to provide a written excuse for absences will result in the student receiving an unexcused absence, which further results in disciplinary consequences and possible fines. If a student is absent three (3) days consecutively, he/she must present a physician’s note upon return to school.


Any student who is leaving school early for any reason must have a written note from a parent/guardian stating the reason for the dismissal and time. This must be turned in prior to leaving. No phone calls will be accepted for early dismissals.


Compulsory school attendance is enforced in Columbia Borough School District. Compulsory attendance laws require all students to attend school unless authorized to be exempt. Each student of compulsory school age must be in attendance every day that school is in session.

Upon written request from a parent or guardian, the principal or designee may excuse a student’s absence from school for the following reasons:

  1. Illness or recovery from accident.

  2. Quarantine.

  3. Required court appearance.

  4. Death in the family.


Students may be excused from school attendance to participate in non-school district sponsored educational trips. To be eligible under this section, the student’s parent/guardian must make written application on the form provided by the district at least five (5) days prior to the trip. The principal will review the form, the students attendance record, and teacher recommendations. When appropriate, the principal will give permission for such trips. Approval will be based on the student’s attendance record, the student’s previous trips, the educational value of the trip and teacher recommendations. Decisions of the principal may be appealed to the Superintendent or designee.

No Student may spend more than a total of five (5) school days on approved educational trips in any given school year unless approved by the Superintendent or designee. Failure to get pre-approval for an educational trip may result in the absences for the trip being declared unexcused and, where appropriate, unlawful.

The student is expected to make up classroom work missed while absent. Failure of the student to complete make-up work may result in an incomplete for the grading period during which the trip was taken. The student may also be required to provide the building principal a written account describing what was learned during the educational trip.


The following are reasons for excused absences:

  1. Religious holidays – observed by bona fide religious groups when requested in writing by the parents stating the name and date of the holiday.

  2. Religious instruction – provided by bona fide religious groups for a maximum of thirty-six (36) hours per year when requested in writing by the parents.

  3. A student participating in a project sponsored by a statewide or countywide 4-H, FFA, or combined 4-H and FFA group upon written request submitted at least five (5) days prior to the event.

  4. Medical, dental, or other health care appointments when requested in writing by the parents and/or verified by the practitioner. Such excuse shall be granted when:

    1. The health or therapeutic services are to be rendered by the licensed practitioners.

    2. It is not practical or possible for the student to receive the services outside of school hours.

    3. The time of necessary absence from school involves a minimum of interference with the student’s regular program of studies.