Late Arrival and Early Release GuidanceGuidance for early release policies in afterschool programs.
The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that After School and Education Safety (ASES) and 21stCentury Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grantees have established a late arrival and early release policy and are implementing the policy accurately and consistently, leaving an audit trail.
This guidance is being created to assist ASES and 21stCCLC grant recipients when creating and implementing their late arrival and early release policy in compliance with the law. This guidance does not apply to After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens programs.
Late Arrival and Early Release Policies
All grantees are required to have a procedure for documenting student attendance. This procedure should comply with the early release policy for after school programs and late arrival policy for before school programs. Such procedures and documents are auditable records for attendance compliance.
Education code allows the grantee to develop a policy for the reasonable late arrival and early daily release of pupils from before and after school core programs based on local needs. For supplemental programs, this policy must be consistent with the district’s early release of pupils from the regular school day. Late arrival and early release policies allow students to arrive late or leave early for a variety of reasons, as developed by the grantee. These policies allow the program to count those students in their attendance for the day. However, the use of the late arrival and early release policies should be the exception and not the rule.
It is recommended that the late arrival and early release policies be implemented by establishing codes for the various reasons of early release. Below are sample codes that have been used in the field:
- Off-site enrichment programs
- Family emergency
- Family needs
- Medical appointment
- Child accident/injury
- Safety issues (darkness, weather)
- Participation in school athletic programs and team sports
- Other conditions (state reasons)
These are some examples of an early release policy that could lead to an audit finding:
- A program has an early release so that a majority of the students leave at 4:30 p.m. An exception to this may be an unusual need for a majority of the students to leave early, such as extreme weather conditions.
- The program begins at 3 p.m., but a student signs in and then leaves at 3:30 p.m. This may be allowable if there is a valid reason and it does not recur on a regular basis.
Review Date: Final —June 2014
Approved by After School Division Director
Regarding the After School Education and Safety and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers before and after programs, California Education Code states:
After School Core
Section 8483(a)(1): Every after school component of a program established pursuant to this article shall commence immediately upon the conclusion of the regular school day, and operate a minimum of 15 hours per week, and at least until 6 p.m. on every regular school day. Every after school component of the program shall establish a policy regarding reasonable early daily release of pupils from the program. For those programs or school sites operating in a community where the early release policy does not meet the unique needs of that community or school, or both, documented evidence may be submitted to the Department for an exception and a request for an alternative plan.
Section 8483(a)(2): It is the intent of the Legislature that elementary school pupils participate in the full day of the program every day during which pupils participate and that pupils in middle school or junior high school attend a minimum of nine hours a week and three days a week to accomplish program goals.
Section 8483(a)(3): In order to develop an age-appropriate after school program for pupils in middle school or junior high school, programs established pursuant to this article may implement a flexible attendance schedule for those pupils. Priority for enrollment of pupils in middle school or junior high school shall be given to pupils who attend daily.
Section 8483.1(a)(1): Every before school program component established pursuant to this article shall in no instance operate for less than one and one-half hours per regular school day. Every program shall establish a policy regarding reasonable late daily arrival of pupils to the program.
Section 8483.1(a)(2)(A): It is the intent of the Legislature that elementary school pupils participate in the full day of the program every day during which pupils participate and that pupils in middle school or junior high school attend a minimum of six hours a week or three days a week to accomplish program goals, except when arriving late in accordance with the late arrival policy described in paragraph (1) or as reasonably necessary. (B) A pupil who attends less than one-half of the daily program hours shall not be counted for the purposes of attendance.
Section 8483.76(f)(2): A supplemental grantee that operates a six-hour extended day program is required to submit, for prior approval by the department, a revised program plan that includes… an attendance and early release policy for the program that is consistent with the local educational agency's early release policy for the regular school day.