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Student Attendance

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 should or call or email the school office the same day as the absence (school attendance lines are open 24 hours). If the school does not receive a call or email 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.  

24 Hour Attendance Lines

If your child will be absent, please call your school and follow the voicemail prompts to the attendance line. Please include your name, the child’s name, and the reason for the absence.

  • Argonaut: (408) 867-4773
  • Foothill: (408) 867-4036
  • Redwood: (408) 867-3042
  • Saratoga: (408) 867-3476

For Parents/Guardians: Frequently Asked Questions About Attendance

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. Each school has a 24 hour attendance line. You can leave a message at any time, even in the middle of the night if your child becomes ill and will not be attending school the next day.

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: 

  1. Due to the student’s Illness
  2. Due to quarantine by a county of city health officer
  3. Due to a medical doctor’s appointment
  4. Attendance at a funeral of an immediate family member (1 day if in California, up to 3 days if out of state)
  5. Jury duty
  6. 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): 

  1. religious holidays or celebrations
  2. appearance in court
  3. attendance at a funeral
  4. attendance at an employment conference (requires previous approval by the school principal)
  5. 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. If a student shows a pattern of chronic absenteeism due to illness, district staff may require physician verification of any further student absences.

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 unexcused absences attendance process.  

What happens if my child misses school due to a family trip?

The school district does not support the practice of taking trips/vacations on school days; absences due to family trips are unexcused. We believe it is vital for students to attend school when they are healthy. Therefore, extended absences for family vacations mid-school-year are strongly discouraged. Please note that per California Education Code 48205, student absences due to family vacations and trips are unexcused. School is in session for only 180 days per year, and so we ask parents’ cooperation in scheduling vacation during the remaining 185 non-instructional days. Students missing school will be asked to make up missed work, while simultaneously attending to new assignments upon their return.  These obligations often add stress to students’ lives.

We understand that circumstances arise, such as family gatherings or celebrations in other states or countries that take place during the school year and are considered vital to a child’s development and family relationships. In this, and in similar situations, parents will need to make a decision in the best interests of their child and the family as a whole. Please feel free to discuss your family’s decision with the teacher and/or principal in advance.

Can my child do school work while on an extended family trip?

There are common misperceptions circulating about the district’s ability to assign academic work to students who miss school to travel.  The preparation of stock worksheets for students, to be completed during their absence, is a woefully inadequate replacement for in-class learning.  Also, in our experience, many students return these worksheets uncompleted because their travel itinerary did not allow for school work.

Instead of worksheets, teachers are encouraged to advise students before their absence of the subject matter that will be covered in class during the absence.  For example, a teacher may list the textbook chapters that will be covered in the student’s absence, and ask him/her to prepare for an end-of-chapter math assessment after the student’s return, or complete a writing project connected with the trip, e.g., a daily journal entry or personal narrative that aligns with an on-going writing unit.  Students will be allowed to make up key assignments and tests within a reasonable time period when they return.

How Do Unexcused Absences Affect Student Records?

While teachers and administrators understand parents’ sensitivity to the State’s label of a child as “truant,” please recognize that if there is no pattern of chronic unexcused absences, then the District is not compelled to refer parents to either a school site Student Study Team intervention or contact with law enforcement (listed in the CA Education Code as possible next steps).  Additionally, parents may exercise the option of providing a written explanation in response to a school’s notification to parents of a student’s attendance status as “truant.”  If such a statement is submitted, it will be added to the student’s record.

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.