Attendance Guidelines


The Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) has defined full and partial day attendance as follows: 

  • A student is counted present for a full day if the student is in attendance four hours or more of the school day
  • A student is counted present for half day if the student is in attendance for at least two hours of the school day, but less than four hours
  • A student scheduled for less than a full day is to be counted present based on the amount of time he/she is scheduled

A note from a the parent/guardian must be submitted to the school within two school days of the student's return, indicating the date and reason for tardiness or absence from a regular school session. A doctor's certificate is required in cases of long-term absence due to illness. A note should also be submitted to request early dismissal or exclusion from activities (e.g., physical education). Chronic absences are referred to the Office of Student Services. 


Reporting Student Absences to HCMS

Email or send a note in with your child when they return.



School personnel will designate tardiness and early dismissal as lawful or unlawful and treat it under the same criteria as a lawful or unlawful absence. The fooling information will help clarify what is considered lawful or unlawful: 
  • Students reporting late to school/class when the day/period begins are considered tardy
  • Leaving school/class before the day/period ends is considered dismissal

Examples of a lawful absence, tardy, or early dismissal: bereavement, illness, doctors/dentist appointment, court summons, observance of a religious holiday and suspension. See Policy 9010 for additional information.

Examples of an unlawful absence, tardy, or early dismissal: missing the bus, over sleeping, car troubles, traffic, babysitting, walking a sibling to school, moving slow, etc. 

The school must receive a note from the parent or physician explaining the absence/tardiness of a student within two school days of the student's return or the absence/tardiness will be unlawful/unexcused. We cannot accept notes written by siblings.