The Academy places great emphasis on class attendance. We assume that students who come to Deerfield do so with purpose and that they will be conscientious in meeting all obligations. Families should not schedule medical appointments, vacations, visits, or other events that conflict with academic commitments, assessments, or standardized testing.

If a teacher is detained or not in class, students should wait for 10 minutes past the normal start time of the class and then report the faculty absence to the Dean of Faculty.

The 20% Rule

When, for any reason (excused or unexcused), a student has missed 20% or more of the meetings for a given course, during a given term, Deerfield may withhold credit for the course for that term or may compel the student to move to pass-fail status for the term. (Pass-fail status is determined by the Academic Dean’s Office and cannot be initiated through student or family request.)

When, for any reason, excused or unexcused, a student missing more than 20% of all course meetings during a given term, Deerfield may require that student to go on leave until the beginning of the subsequent academic year. No academic credit is granted for the term in question.


Students must adhere to the published term-end schedule. The Academic Dean’s Office will accommodate conflicts for illnesses, medical issues, or emergencies as determined by the Health Center and Student Life Office. Requests for changes to the term-end schedule for personal convenience will not be approved. All term-end travel arrangements must be made to align with the completion of each term: after Friday at noon.

Cocurriculars, Meals, School Meetings, and Events

Attendance is taken on several occasions outside of class. Cocurriculars, sit-down meals, school meetings, and Academy Events are required for all students, as are other obligations as assigned. From time to time, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee, faculty may designate required events as an alternative to class time.

Day Students

If a day student must be absent due to illness, a parent or guardian must notify the Health Center prior to 8:30 am. Absences for any other reason should be communicated directly to the Student Life Office.

Attendance Taken

All teachers submit daily online reports of student absences; they take attendance only and do not assign or excuse Accountability Points. Faculty cannot adjust attendance or eliminate APs—even when there is certainty that the absence will be excused. The Student Life Office determines which absences are excused; errors and/or requests for clearance must be submitted to the Class Dean within three school days of the absence.

Excused Absences



If students are too sick to go to class, sit-down meal, or another required activity, they must arrive at the Health Center at the beginning of the timeframe for which they wish to be excused for medical reasons. If a class is missed, students should inform the teachers that they were in the Health Center. If unable to complete or to hand in any graded assignment when medically excused from class, students should notify their teachers as soon as possible to acknowledge that assignments will be late and to clarify when assignments can be completed. Students who miss class due to illness may not participate in their cocurricular activities that day, except at the clinical discretion of the Director of Medical Services. Other considerations include:

  • Students ill enough to miss the majority of their classes should expect to spend the night in the Health Center.
  • Students ill enough to miss at least one class, two days in a row, should expect to spend the night in the Health Center.
  • Students sick enough to miss any class on Friday should expect to spend Friday night in the Health Center.


Sick or injured students may be excused from cocurricular activities only by a school nurse or physician. In such cases, students are expected to communicate with their cocurricular supervisors. In certain cocurricular activities where the unexpected absence of a student may create a hardship for the group, it is important that the student notify the appropriate adult in a timely fashion. Failure to notify the adult before the beginning of the cocurricular time period may result in invalidation of the medical excuse, and the student may receive Accountability Points


Students are permitted to miss a combined total of five class days for college visits, approved Pursuits of Excellence, or other commitments approved by the Student Life Office.

Juniors and seniors are encouraged to schedule college visits during the summer or other school vacation times. The Academy allows seniors to miss class days—of the total five—to visit colleges. Requests require approval from the student’s college advisor and Class Dean; requests should be submitted at least three days in advance by selecting “College Visit” in the electronic signout system. (Please note that choosing this option will automatically create an Overnight Permission request, if applicable, so students do not need to submit a separate form.)


Attendance in class is essential to individual academic success and community health. However, when appropriate opportunities to pursue excellence arise, Deerfield may allow students to miss class.

To be eligible to petition for Pursuit of Excellence, students must:

  • Remain in good academic standing;
  • Maintain solid citizenship, including strong attendance;
  • Demonstrate extraordinary accomplishment in their areas of excellence; and
  • Receive invitations to pursue extraordinary opportunities.

In petitioning, students must establish:

  • Ways an event furthers their development of excellence;
  • What they have done to qualify for the opportunity;
  • That the opportunity has resulted from a rigorous selection process; and
  • That there is no way to engage in the opportunity without missing school.

Interested students should petition by selecting “Pursuit of Excellence” in the electronic signout system. (Please note that choosing this option will automatically create an Overnight Permission request, if applicable, so students do not need to submit a separate form.) The form should be completed as soon as an opportunity arises and no later than three days prior to the event; late submissions will result in four or more APs. A subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee reviews all petitions. The Office of the Academic Dean notifies students of decisions and, when petitions are approved, notifies classroom teachers. Students are expected to make up all missed work without requesting extra help from teachers.


If students must miss classes for unavoidable commitments (e.g. job interview, funeral, wedding, etc.), they should request permission by selecting “Request to Miss Classes” in the electronic signout system. (Please note that choosing this option will automatically create an Overnight Permission request, if applicable, so students do not need to submit a separate form.) The form should be completed as early as possible; late submissions may result in four or more APs.


Students missing classes or assignments for religious observances should inform teachers in advance. Teachers should set a reasonable schedule for completion of assignments and/or assessments. When students have multiple assessments during a period of religious obligation, a staggered set of due dates in the days following a holiday may be required. This policy does not apply to holidays that fall on a single day of the weekend.