School Practices & Policies » Attendance and Absence Reporting Procedures

Attendance and Absence Reporting Procedures

Attendance & Absence Reporting Procedures

Contact Information:


Lily Janey




[email protected]


When a student is absent from school, their parent/guardian should verify the reason for the absence by explaining the reason for the absence. This is required from California Education Code Section 46012.


Parents have a maximum of 5 days to excuse an absence. We will, however, ask for verification on the first day a students is absent. In case of an absence, please let us know as soon as possible.


If your child is coming to school late or leaving early, especially if they will come to or leave campus alone, please contact the main office and confirm with an adult at 510-558-3600 or 3613. Our student aides answer the phones, so please request to speak with an adult if your student will be missing class for any reason.


If a student has been absent for 10 whole or partial days due to medical/illness, we are required to ask for a doctor’s note to excuse any medical/illnesses after the 10th day. Any medical/illnesses already excused by a doctor in the first 10 days of absence are not counted toward this requirement. As a general guideline, it's always better to have an excuse note than not, so if your doctor/dentist/orthodontist/other offers one, say yes! 


Student absences can be cleared by:


  1. Written note, AMS Fax 510-559-6547, AMS Voicemail 510-558-3613 or email ([email protected]) from parent/guardian or parent representative before 10 AM on the day of the absence.

  1. Conversation, in person or by telephone, between the school Clerk II and the student's parent/guardian or parent representative. The parent or guardian should give the following information:

a. First and Last Name of student

b. Name of parent/guardian or parent representative

c. Date(s) of absence

d. Reason for absence


California Education Code is explicit in differentiating between what is an excused absence and what is an unexcused absence. According to Education Code Section 48205, the following types of absences are either excused or unexcused:


Student can complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence, receiving full credit for completed work.


Student may be able to complete all assignments and test missed during the absence, receiving full credit for completed work.

  1. Bereavement → Attending the funeral services of a member of the immediate family (1 day for California service, 3 days for out of state)

  2. Completed Independent Study → Must be for a minimum of 5 school days and must be arranged at least 10 school days in advance.

  3. Legal → Required appearance in court

  4. Illness or medical appointment

Dr. note required after 10th day.

  1. Religious holiday or ceremony

  1. Vacation/Trips → This includes vacations, retreats, family reunions, and trips planned far in advance.

  2. Unverified → Any absence that is not called in within 5 days is marked as unverified, even if the student is out for an excusable reason.

  3. Incomplete Independent Study → If independent study work is not complete, the absence is not excused.

  4. Suspensions

  5. Tardies to class

Tardies greater than 30 minutes are considered to be a cut from class.


Attendance FAQ

1. What do I have to do if my child is going to be absent from school?

Please call the attendance office at (510) 558-3608. You must leave your child’s first and last names, his/her grade the reason for the absence, the date of the absence and your name to verify that it was a parent/guardian that is verifying the absence. Or, you may send a note upon your child’s return to school.


2. What does it mean to“verify”my child’s absence?

When a student is absent, parents are required to call/send a note to the attendance department in order to validate the reason for the child’s absence. We call this process: Absence Verification.


3. What happens after I have called in my child’s absence?

The clerk II will then proceed to mark your child’s attendance record with an “Excused” or “Unexcused” absence according to Ed.Code and District policies.


4. What happens if I forget to call my child’s absence on the day of his/her absence?

You may call to verify your child’s absence up to 5 days after your child has been absent. Absences that are not verified within the time allowed will be considered unexcused absences.


5. What is considered an Excused Absence?

By law [EC § 48205], excused absences are: illness (fever 100° or more, your child must be fever free without any medication for twenty four hours before returning to school], persistent runny nose with yellow-green mucous discharge, rashes [unless there is a note from your physician stating that your child is not contagious], vomiting [If your child is sent home vomiting he/she needs to be vomit free for twenty four hours before returning to school], diarrhea [If your child is sent home from school with diarrhea he/she needs to be diarrhea free for twenty four hours before returning to school], medical/dental appointments (doctor’s note required for verification), death in the family, specific religious reasons, required appearance in court, and exclusion from school for contagious disease.


6. What if my child’s absences do not fall under any of the Excused Absences categories?

State law [EC § 48260-48273] is very specific about these types of absences. A student who is absent from school without a valid excuse will be marked “unexcused” for the day. These types of absences are also called “Truancies”.


7. I thought “truancy” indicated that a child skipped/ditched school. Why would my child be considered “Truant” if I have called to verify the absence?

In accordance with Education Code of the State of California [EC § 48260-48273], any pupil who is absent from school for 3 partial or whole days, or more without a valid excuse, or tardy in excess of 30 minutes or more (Tardies are only excused with a parent note for illness, doctor/dental note for appointments), is “truant”. Compulsory Education Law therefore, requires a student to attend a full day every day!


8. What is the process for a child with more than 3 unexcused absences/tardies?

You will receive a letter from the school upon the 3rd and the consequently upon the 5th absence/truancy. On the second letter (5th absence/truancy) you will be asked to attend a SART meeting. Additional unexcused absences will result in a referral to the School Attendance Review Board and possible referral to the District Attorney for prosecution.


9. What can I do if my child needs to be out of school for a length of time?

If your child must go out of town for five or more days, you may request that your child is signed up for an Independent Study Agreement. Please note that teachers need at least 10 school days of notice in order to prepare materials without interrupting their instructional time. Independent Study can only be granted once per semester and cannot occur the last two weeks of the school year.


10. Why is attendance such a big issue?

Regular attendance is vital to student’s success in school. The student, who is frequently absent, misses social interaction and direct instruction from his/her teachers even though written work can be made up. Any day or hour absent is a missed learning opportunity. Attendance is a key predictor of academic achievement:

Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance. This relationship between attendance and achievement may appear early in a child's school career. A recent study looking at young children found that absenteeism in kindergarten was associated with negative first grade outcomes such as greater absenteeism in subsequent years and lower achievement in reading, math, and general knowledge.


11. I thought schools got “paid” when kids are out ill/”excused”?

Schools do NOT receive funding even if the absence is excused. This law went into effect in 1998. Any absence is a loss of revenue as well as instructional opportunities.


12. How much revenue is really lost due to attendance?

The State of California funds attendance not absences. That is why schools in California are funded on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). ADA is the primary funding source for all schools/school districts in California. 


13. What about homework, if my child is absent can I request homework to be sent home?

A homework request can be made through the office if a student is out 3 consecutive days due to illness.  Other wise the parent/guardian or student can contact his/her teacher for missing work. Students are given the opportunity to make-up schoolwork missed due to illness or a valid excused absence upon their return. As a general policy, a student is allowed 1(one) day to complete make-up work for each day of excused absence from school.