According to our District policy, there are only 6 legal excused reasons for a student to be absent from school, which are:
- Illness or quarantine (doctor’s note required for 3 or more consecutive days)
- Medical, chiropractic, optometric, or dental services
- The funeral of members of student’s immediate family (as defined in Ed Code 45194)
- Court and legal appointments
- Observances of religious holiday or ceremony
- Pre-Approved School Activity (school officials only)
*If a student needs to leave school during the day, they must obtain a permit to leave from the Attendance Office prior to departure.
When must a student provide a doctor’s note?
- When a student has had 3 or more consecutive absences due to illness
- When a student has had a total of 14 or more absences in a school year for illness, the school site administration (designee) may require that any further absences for illness be verified by a physician. Absences do not need to be consecutive.
- Please contact the Health Office (558-2722) if your student has a serious illness.
How to report an excused absence?
- On the absent days, please contact the Attendance Office using the online form -- https://www.smuhsd.org/Page/12044 -- in order to clear an absence. The form is also available in Spanish and Chinese.
- Notify the Attendance Office by phone at 558-2708 and speak to the Attendance Clerk or leave a message with the following information:
- Your message or written note [in ink] includes --
- Student’s name
- Number of days
- Dates of absence
- Reason for absence
- Parent signature
- Work and home phone numbers
- If a guardian is unable to report an excused absence on the day of, please submit a message to the Attendance Office on the day of the student’s return to school, between 7:30 - 7:55 am.
- Parents/guardians of 18-year-old students who wish to allow adult students to verify attendance must meet with the Dean to go over agreement details.
How does one clear an absence?
- Students are expected to clear an absence within three school days (72 hours). Parent/Guardian must clear an absence by contacting the Attendance Clerk to explain the absence.
- Absences not cleared after three school days (72 hours) will be considered unexcused and marked as a “cut.” The office cannot correct attendance records after 72 hours.
How does the school notify parents/guardians about absences?
The school uses an automated cxommunications system, to notify parents/guardians on all period absences. When a student is absent, a parent/guardian must call 650-558-2708 or provide the attendance clerk with a note within 72 hours of the absence.
Attending class regularly and being on time have a direct effect on a student’s success in meeting course requirements for high school graduation. Attendance in school is legally mandatory for all students under the age of 18 and also required in order to be successful in district courses.
- It is the student’s responsibility to see that a parent or guardian telephones the attendance office on the morning of each absence.
- If the absence is not excused by the end of the school day, parents/guardians will be contacted at home or at work via our auto-dialer system
- Students and guardians have 72 hours to clear an absence, otherwise it will be recorded as a truancy (families should check Aeries for daily attendance updates.)
- Students who are considered truant from school during the day of an activity or athletic contest may not be allowed to participate in that event.
- Students with 14 or more unexcused absences will receive a truancy letter.
Attendance Referral Process
A student is considered truant after having more than 14 unexcused absences. A routine attendance report is evaluated to identify students early on and provide the necessary intervention. The goal is to decrease the number of absences and identify the reasons behind those absences in order to provide the student and family with support.
Permit to Leave During School Hours
Parents/guardians and students should make every effort to schedule non-school appointments outside school hours. If this is unavoidable, the student must obtain a Permit to Leave from the Attendance Clerk prior to leaving. Students who leave campus without a “Permit to Leave” will receive a permanent cut/truancy absence – even if a parent calls to clear the absence afterward. The student will also be assigned an appropriate consequence for leaving school without permission. The San Bruno and Millbrae Police Departments are authorized to return students back to the school campus when students leave without a Permit to Leave.
How does one obtain a Permit to Leave Campus?
- Parent/guardian communicate with the Attendance Clerk by
- Calling (650) 558-2808 before 9:30 am, or
- Sending a note before school begins, stating the reason and requested dismissal time along with a phone number where the parent/guardian may be reached. These notes will gladly be accepted in Spanish.
- The student MUST check-out with the Attendance Clerk prior to leaving campus to excuse absences.
Students are tardy if they are not in the classroom when the bell rings. Arriving late to class may result in detention. The tardy policy has been implemented to assist students getting to class on time.
Consequences for Unexcused Tardies/Absences*
5 or More Tardies/Truancies/Unverified Absences (Level I) (After receipt of notification...)
- Thursday School
10 or More Tardies/Truancies/Unverified Absences (Level II) (After receipt of notification...)
- Saturday School and
- Parent Communication
15 or More Tardies/Truancies/Unverified Absences (Level III)
- Academic Support Time (AST) with the Dean
- May lose extracurricular privileges
*Consequences work towards developing students to be principled members of our school community; they are subject to updates as we continue to reflect on our practices.
** Students who do not show up to detention may be subject to ATS/Suspension/Behavior Contract
School Attendance Review Board
The District School Attendance Review Board (SARB) attempts to understand why students experience attendance problems and makes every effort to assist in correcting the problem(s).
Learn more: https://www.smuhsd.org/Page/4685
Chronically Absent Students
SMUHSD contracts with EveryDay Labs to help provide proven interventions to reduce chronic absenteeism by 10–15% districtwide through proactive, personalized outreach paired with inbound support for families in their home language. The unique approach requires no change in school-level practices. Intervention is rigorous in its evidence basis, research, and design—but thoughtful and supportive in its delivery. We monitor attendance data and target our families. When students become at risk of learning loss, supportive nudges are sent by text and mail that provide access to support. The personalized, consistent outreach, in families' home language, district-wide has proven to help improve attendance of students.