Flu may force Troup County to change exam exemption policy

amccallum@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 15, 2009 

LAGRANGE — With a severe flu season looming, Troup County education officials are considering a change to their exam exemption policy that would allow students to miss additional days of school but still be eligible for exemption.

According to the current policy, students can have no more than three or four absences in the semester before they are no longer eligible to be excused from final exams. They must also be in good academic standing and meet various discipline criteria.

The school board reviewed proposed changes to the final examinations policy at its Monday caucus meeting and is slated to officially OK changes to the system’s policy at its Thursday evening school board meeting. The amendments to the policy would approximately double the amount of days students can miss and still be exempt from final exams.

Sylvia Hooker, Troup County Schools assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the change would only be for the current school year to accommodate “emergency flu and cold conditions.” Hooker said part of the reason for the increase in days is to make sure students have time to recuperate and parents don’t send them to school sick.

The policy shift comes as school systems throughout the country brace themselves for what is expected to be a fierce flu season between the onset of the traditional seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus or swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anticipates students will be among one of the most vulnerable groups to the H1N1 virus.

If changes to the Troup County policy are approved they would allow high school students with an A average to miss eight days of school in the semester and still be eligible for exemption, rather than the previous requirement of only four absences.

Similarly, students with a B average will be allowed seven absences; prior to the policy change they could only have three.

At the middle school level, students with a passing grade and missing no more than eight days per semester would be eligible for exemption. Previously the number of absences was four.

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