Student Attendance Information
Daily attendance at school is mandatory. All children between 6 and 18 years of age are required by California’s Education Code to attend school, and their parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child’s attendance. If a student is absent, the parent/guardian is to call the school the same day as the absence. If the school does not receive a call or note from the parent/guardian, the school will attempt to make contact. When the student returns to school, a valid explanation verifying the reason for the absence must be provided by the parent/guardian.
Attendance FAQs for Parents
What do I do if my child is absent from school?
Call your child’s school office or the specific school’s absence reporting hotline each day the child is absent giving your name, the child’s name, and the reason for the absence.
Why do I have to report my child’s absence?
The Education Code of the State of California requires attendance in school under compulsory attendance laws. “Each person between the ages of 6 and 18 is subject to compulsory full-time education.” (EC 48200). If you report your child’s absence within a reasonable amount of time you child will be given the opportunity to complete assignments and tests given during the period of absence.
What is an Excused Absence?
Under California Education Code section 48205, a pupil shall be excused from school when the absence is:
- Due to the student’s Illness
- Due to quarantine by a county of city health officer
- Due to a medical doctor’s appointment
- Attendance at a funeral of an immediate family member (1 day if in California, up to 3 days if out of state)
- Jury duty
- Due to the illness or medical appointment of a child of whom the student is the custodial parent
Justifiable personal reasons including (but not limited to):
- religious holidays or celebrations
- appearance in court
- attendance at a funeral
- attendance at an employment conference (requires previous approval by the school principal)
- working at an election precinct
All students absent from school under any of the above stated reasons are entitled to complete all assignments and tests missed during the period of absence. Completion must be within a reasonable period of time and shall be given full credit.
What is an Unexcused Absence?
Unexcused absences are those absences that do not meet the above listed criteria. An unexcused absence may be either an unverified absence (i.e. when a student “cuts” school) or a verified unexcused absence that occurs with the approval of the parent or guardian. For example, missing school due to a family vacation is considered an unexcused absence.
Do I need a doctor’s note to verify an absence for illness?
A doctor’s note helps verify an excused absence and shall be required if excessive absences due to illness have previously occurred.
What happens if my child misses school?
Most children and youth are absent from school at one time or another when they are sick. However, the State of California defines a student as truant after he/she has three unexcused absences and/or has missed more than 30 minutes of school without a valid excuse. Your child’s school is required to send you a truancy letter if your child has three unexcused absences and/or has missed more than 30 minutes of school without a valid excuse within one school year.
Please click on the Attendance and Truancy Process Diagram for a chart describing the SUSD attendance process.
What happens if my child misses school due to a family trip?
The District does not support the practice of taking trips/vacations on school days; absences due to family trips are unexcused.
How do I report an absence or if I have a question?
To report an absence, call your school office and listen to the voicemail prompts for the attendance line. The attendance line is available 24 hours per day, so if your child falls ill in the middle of the night you can call ahead to report the absence. For an extended absence, please contact your school office and notify your teacher(s).
For questions, please contact your school office staff.