New exemptions policy

An overview of the modified exemption requirements


Charleigh Thomas

A student checking their absences and tardies on Home Access Center.

As of the 2022-2023 school year, the district has modified the necessary exemption requirements for finals.

In previous years, due to COVID, exemption requirements adopted a more lax policy, so students did not need to worry about their health affecting their grades. Even for students who never got sick, excluding attendance as a factor made exemptions less stressful. Previously, the district only required that an 80 or higher class average be kept. However, with the district transitioning back to normalcy, the necessary fulfillments have been modified.

For many students, the quick adjustment to the new policy has been difficult since attendance had not previously been considered for exemption eligibility. Now, students find it more crucial to evaluate which days they take off.

“Right after homecoming, I got super sick and had to miss two days of school… there was no way I could come here,” senior Eryn Davis said. “And then again, just last week, my sister was having her first baby. And there were a little bit of troubles with it… so we all stayed home. But I can’t exempt my first period anymore because of absences.”

However, for students who worry about their attendance, the district takes into account many exceptions for external circumstances that might affect exemption eligibility. In Section Ⅱ Chapter 4, the Student Handbook covers circumstances that wouldn’t count against a student like certain excused absences, college visits, and school-related activities.

“So there are about 13 or 14 extenuating circumstances that will waive one of the requirements that refer to our great Student [Handbook],” Assistant Principal Tashanna Boutte said.

Another change made to the exemption requirements included lowering the grade average needed in order to exempt a class. In past years, an 80 represented the minimum average for eligibility, but this year it’s dropped to a 75.

According to Boutte, she believes lowering the necessary grade will allow more students to be eligible for exemptions. However, according to Davis, even with the grade drop, staying within the allowed absences and tardies is a challenge.

“The absences, five absences, are a little difficult. Three tardies is also kind of difficult, as some would understand,” Davis said.

Even though the updated policy may pose a few additional complications, meeting the qualifications to exempt simply reflects all of the hard work that students put into their classes, Boutte says.

“It’s beneficial. I think it’s a great incentive for students to kind of look forward to earning at the end of each semester,” Boutte said.