Lowell Attendance

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Attendance Guidelines

Absence from School

Regular attendance is necessary for academic success in high school and is the responsibility of both parents and students.  If a student must miss school, a parent/guardian must submit one of the following signed forms to the attendance office no later than 3 days after the student returns from the absence. Failure to submit forms in a timely manner may result in students being designated as "truant".

(Note: students 18 years of age or older may sign and submit their own forms.)

Questions about attendance should be directed via email to the Lowell attendance office (

SFUSD Approved Reasons to Excuse an Absence

  • Illness/Isolation due to a positive COVID 19 Test
  • Close Contact Quarantine Pending a Negative COVID 19 Test
  • Medical/Dental/Eye Care Appointment
  • Funeral (for family only)
  • Court Appearance / Appointments with attorneys, law enforcement officers, or immigration officials
  • Religious Holiday / Religious Instruction (if student has attended the minimum school day and no more than 4 days per month)
  • Jury Duty (18 years old or older)
  • Approved participation in a school or extracurricular activity
  • Student is in Juvenile Hall or other custodial facility
  • Personal Emergency with Principal/Assistant Principal Approval

SFUSD COVID Reporting and Support Call 415-660-9850

Update: as of March 2023, the following guidelines are recommended for students and required for SFUSD staff. We will excuse absences for COVID based on a positive test for up to 5 days or up to 11 days total if symptoms persist and tests remain positive. If symptoms persist beyond 11days please reach out to the Lowell attendance office to request an extension on the excused absence.


If you had a positive COVID‑19 test or were diagnosed with COVID‑19, you must stay home, except to get needed medical care. Everyone must stay home who tests positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated, have no symptoms or were recently (within the last 90 days) infected and recovered. You must stay home until all of the following are true:

  • At least five (5) days have passed since symptom(s) started AND

  • You no longer have a fever, AND

  • All other symptoms are getting better, AND

  • You have a negative test* collected on day 5 or later

*Either an antigen or PCR test, including over the counter home tests, are acceptable to leave isolation or in people who have had a recent COVID-19 infection. 

If you never had COVID-19 symptoms, you must stay home for five (5) days after the positive test. If you test negative on day 5 or later you may return to work/school on day 6 or later. If your test continues to be positive or you are unable, or choose not to test, you can end isolation after day 10.  

Please let Lowell Attendance know (via note, phone call or email) that your student will be returning to Lowell before the end of their estimated recovery time.

What to do if you receive a truancy letter

Many families receive truancy letters and are, understandably, concerned. Here is some information that will help put your mind at ease and clarify what steps you can take to address issues listed in the letters:

  • Definition: truancy as referenced in the letter is defined as three or more “attendance events”, which means either one or more unexcused absences or “T30” (tardy more than 30 minutes) in a day. For high school students where attendance is often taken 6 or 7 times in a day, it only takes one absence or T30 to trigger an “attendance event”, so the truancy threshold can be reached much more quickly for high school students than for elementary school students, where attendance might only be taken once per day. The main purpose of the letters is to make sure that parents are made aware early on of any developing patterns around attendance and that we take action, if necessary, sooner rather than later.
  • If you have received a truancy letter that is based on absences that you believe are unexcused due to clerical errors (e.g. you submitted a note to the Attendance Office but the absence has not been changed in Synergy yet), please reach out to the Lowell attendance office via email ( with your child’s name, the dates and periods that should be excused, and the reason for each absence (see this page for a list of approved reasons to excuse an absence), and we will reply once the error has been rectified.
  • To excuse a student absence: Go to this form to request an absence be excused. Absences will only be excused if they are for a reason on the SFUSD list of Approved Reasons to Excuse an absence
  • Field trip or athletic event attendance: Per district policy, students absent from classes because of a field trip or athletic event will be marked absent by their teachers (unless the teacher is a chaperone on the field trip). After returning from the field trip or at the conclusion of the athletic event, chaperones or coaches will give a list of students who attended the field trip or athletic event to the attendance office who will then adjust the attendance record to indicate those absences are excused. Unfortunately, we cannot change the absences to “excused” until we receive verification from the chaperones or coaches that the student was actually present for the event and - although our intention is for updates to happen within 48 hours - many parents will still get a phone call at the end of the day informing them of an unexcused absence even if their student was on an approved field trip or at an athletic event. Parents can check ParentVue to verify that excused absences have been updated at a later date, but please wait at least 72 hours after a field trip or athletic event to call the attendance office if you believe there is an error.

This page was last updated on October 6, 2023