topleft >  Services >  Governance Technology > 

Vista USD |  BP  5113  Students

Absences And Excuses   

arrow Previous bar Next arrow

Schools are required to enforce Compulsory Education Law. When children do not attend school punctually or are absent the entire school day, the reason must be identified and recorded as either excused or unexcused. Classroom teachers will record the students either absent or tardy and school attendance personnel will verify the reason why the student is absent or tardy.

Verification of student absences may be made by district school employees only. This includes a school or public health nurse, an attendance supervisor, a district employed physician, a principal, a teacher or any other district employees assigned to make such verification.

Absence from school shall be allowed only for: personal illness or injury, quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer, medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic services rendered, attendance at the funeral services for a member of the "immediate family", jury duty in the manner provided by law, student who is custodial parent of a child who is ill or has a medical appointment during school, exclusion for failure to present evidence of immunization, exclusion from school because student is either the carrier of a contagious disease or not immunized for a contagious disease.

Immediate family shall be defined as mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, spouse, son/son-in-law, daughter/daughter-in-law, brother, sister, or any relative living in the student's immediate household. (Education Code 45194, 48205)

Students shall not be absent from school without their parents/guardians' knowledge or consent.

Parents/guardians shall notify the school within 72 hours of the last day of the student's absence. (72 hours equals three days).

1. Absences remaining unverified for three or more days after the student's return to school will be considered truant or unexcused.

a. Less than three unverified absences are considered UNEXCUSED.

b. Three or more unverified absences are considered TRUANT.

On the first day of a student's absence and on each subsequent day of absence, parents/guardians must present a satisfactory explanation, verifying the reason for absence. The verification may be made in conversation or in a signed note.

1. Required documentation should include all of the following elements: full name of student, date(s) of absence, specific reason of absence, name and/or identify (i.e. mother or father) of person providing the information, name and signature of person/employee making/logging the verification, date the verification was made.

2. Any student with 10 excused absences, verified by phone calls, will be required to provide a written explanation for any/all future absences. This verification must be written by the appropriate professional on his/her letterhead, addressing the medical, legal or bereavement reason(s).

The Board of Education shall allow students to be absent for religious instruction or participation in religious exercises or instruction away from school property. Such absences shall be considered excused absences subject to the following:

1. The student shall attend at least the minimum school day.

2. The student shall be excused for no more than four school days per month.

3. The principal has received prior written consent from the parent/guardian.

Upon written request by a student's parent/guardian and with the principal or designee's approval, a student may be excused from school in order to observe a holiday or ceremony of the student's religion, or to attend a religious retreat. Such absences shall be considered excused absences pursuant to applicable law.

Unexcused absences from class exceeding 10 days in a school semester may be sufficient reason for a teacher to assign the student a failing grade for the class. The teacher may assign a failing grade in such cases.

The student and parent/guardian shall be notified of each unexcused absence. The student and parent/guardian shall be given five days to explain the absence. If the absence is not verified as an excusable absence, it shall be recorded as unexcused, together with the reason for the absence as given by the parent/guardian and the date when the explanation was given. The name of the person receiving any oral explanation of the absence shall also be recorded.

If a student receives a failing grade because of unexcused absences exceeding the above maximum, school records shall specify that the grade was given because of excessive unexcused absences.

Legal Reference:


1740 Employment of personnel to supervise attendance (county superintendent)

2550-2558.6 Computation of revenue limits

37201 School month

37223 Weekend classes

41601 Reports of average daily attendance

42238-42250.1 Apportionments

46000 Records (attendance)

46010-46014 Absences

46100-46119 Attendance in kindergarten and elementary schools

46140-46147 Attendance in junior high and high schools

48200-48208 Children ages 6-18 (compulsory full-time attendance)

48210-48216 Exclusions from attendance

48240-48246 Supervisors of attendance

48260-48273 Truants

48292 Filing complaint against parent

48320-48324 School attendance review boards

48340-48341 Improvement of student attendance

49067 Unexcused absences as cause of failing grade

49701 Provisions of the interstate compact on educational opportunities for military children


12302 Student participation on precinct boards


6920-6929 Consent by minor


13202.7 Driving privileges; minors; suspension or delay for habitual truancy


601-601.4 Habitually truant minors

11253.5 Compulsory school attendance


306 Explanation of absence

420-421 Record of verification of absence due to illness and other causes


87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 168 (2004)

66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 244 (1983)


American Academy of Pediatrics et al v. Lungren et al (1997) 16 Cal.4th 307

Management Resources:


Improving Student Achievement by Addressing Chronic Absence, Policy Brief, December 2010




adopted: November 20, 2014 Vista, California