Attendance FAQs

Attendance Matters!

Student success starts with good attendance and is the responsibility of the student, family, and school.  The U.S. Department of Education reports that for every missed day of school, it takes a student two days to catch up since she/he must make up missed learning and catch up with new learning at the same time.

Families and parents have a vital role in ensuring and promoting regular attendance at school.  Regular attendance is necessary for success in school and you as a parent are the key person that can make a difference.  Students who regularly attend school are the least likely to drop out of school.

Why does it matter if my child misses school or comes in late?

Absences impact EVERYONE!  Students who miss class often can quickly fall behind and struggle to catch up.  Students who have good attendance can be affected as well.  When a frequently absent student returns to class, the teacher often must stop to give special attention to that child.

What is the difference between an excused and an unexcused absence?

Under California state law, an absence is considered “excused” only for these reasons:

  • Student illness
  • Death in the student’s immediate family (one day is excused if funeral is conducted in California, and three days are excused if service is conducted outside of California).
  • For the purpose of having medical, dental, vision or chiropractic services rendered
  • Observation of a religious holiday or ceremony
  • Court appearance (documentation must be provided and have the student’s name on it)

All other reasons for absences are considered inexcusable by California state law.  If you have a special circumstance and are unsure whether it will be excused, please contact Mr. Magaña for clarification.

What is an unexcused absence?

  • An unexcused absence is an absence which occurs with the knowledge and approval of the parent or guardian when there has been no prearranged agreement with the school administration for the absence.
  • Some examples of unexcused absences are: babysitting, working on a car, family vacation, getting a driver’s license, oversleeping, etc.

My student is sick.  Shouldn’t my child stay home?

The health and safety of our students at Fitz is our highest priority.  If your child has a fever, is vomiting or has other severe symptoms, your child is too sick to come to school.  Parents are allowed to excuse up to 10 days without verification of illness from a medical professional.

If you bring your child to see a doctor, make sure to obtain a doctor’s note stating the date seen, any additional days they recommend your child stay home and the diagnosis.  Upon your child’s return to school, provide the documentation to the front office and these absences will be recorded as verified.

If you child is feeling ill in the morning but is doing better as the day progresses, please consider bringing them to school for a partial day.  That’s always better than missing a full day.

What about a family emergency?  If the car breaks down, or there’s a relative in the hospital, is that an excused absence?

According to California state law, family emergencies are not considered excusable absences.


Fitz says my child has an unexcused absence when it should have been excused.  What can I do?

Families/parents should call Fitz as soon as they know that their child will be absent.  Parents have 3 school days to clear absences before it is recorded as a truancy.

There are several reasons why your child’s absence may be recorded as unexcused when you thought it would be excused:

  • Did you give a written note to your child to hand into the office? If so, it’s possible your student lost it or forgot about it.  It is best for you to call the office yourself.
  • To ensure proper documentation of an absence, you must report it to your school’s office.
  • If you reported an absence – but gave a reason that is unexcused by California state law – Fitz must record the absence as unexcused.

What is a truancy?  How is a student identified as being truant?

A student is considered truant if:

  • She/he is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year
  • She/he is tardy for more than a 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year
  • She/he is absent and/or tardy in any combination of the above.
  • Consequences for truancy may include:
    • detention
    • referral to the Truancy Reduction Center
    • referral to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB).