Excused and Unexcused Absences


(SFUSD Board Policy 5113)

Valid Excused Absences (Absences excused by State law)

Verification of student absences is accepted only from parents/guardians/caregivers, or the student if they are 18 years old or older.

CA Education Code 48205 states that a student shall be excused from school when the absence is:

  1. Due to their illness.
  2. Due to quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer.
  3. For the purpose of having medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic services rendered.
  4. For the purpose of attending the funeral services of a member of their immediate family, so long as the absence is not more than one day if the service is conducted in California and not more than three days if the service is conducted outside California.
  5. For the purpose of jury duty in the manner provided for by law. Due to the illness or medical appointment during school hours of a child of whom the student is the custodial parent.
  6. For justifiable personal reasons, including, but not limited to, an appearance in court, attendance at a funeral service, observance of a holiday or ceremony of their religion, attendance at religious retreats, attendance at an employment conference, attendance at an educational conference on the legislative or judicial process offered by a nonprofit organization, or a visit to a college or university, when the student’s absence has been requested in writing by the parent or guardian and approved in advance by the principal or a designated representative pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing board.
  7. For the purpose of serving as a member of a precinct board for an election pursuant to Section 12302 of the Elections Code.
  8. To spend time with an immediate family member who is an active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined in CA Education Code 49701, and has been called to duty for deployment to a combat zone or a combat support position or is on leave from or has immediately returned from such deployment. 
  9. To attend their naturalization ceremony to become a United States citizen.
  10. To participate in religious exercises or to receive moral and religious instruction, subject to the following conditions: the student has parent/guardian written consent for the absence; is in grades 4-12; shall attend at least the minimum school day; and shall be excused from school for this purpose on no more than four days per school month, and no more than 60 minutes on a single day once a week, during the last hour of the school day.

(CA Education Code 46014, SFUSD Administrative Regulation 5113)

In our effort to promote satisfactory attendance, parents may receive calls after any absence, and can expect calls or written notification if “excused” absences become in excess of 10% of the school days. If excused absences or tardies exceed 10% of school days, the administrator may request medical verification of the need for absence.

Make-Up Work

A student absent from school under this section shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence that can be reasonably provided and, upon satisfactory completion within a reasonable period of time, shall be given full credit.  The teacher of any class from which a student is absent shall determine the tests and assignments which shall be reasonably equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, the tests and assignments that the student missed during the absence.

No student may have their grade reduced or lose academic credit for any excused absence when missed assignments and tests are satisfactorily completed within a reasonable period of time. (SFUSD Board Policy 6154; CA Education Code 48205)

Religious Retreats

For purposes of this section, attendance at religious retreats shall not exceed four hours per semester. (SFUSD Administrative Regulation 5113)

Unexcused Absences

Definition of Unexcused Absence:  Missing a full day of school or being tardy or absent for 30 minutes or more without a valid excuse. It should be noted that being tardy in any amount of minutes beyond the bell is unacceptable and may result in loss of some school privileges or eligibility for attendance incentive recognitions

Unexcused Absences Include:

  1. Missing class or school without an excused or approved reason, whether the absence is student or parent/guardian/caregiver-initiated (e.g., for childcare or household shopping).
  2. Absences for which advance approval is necessary and was not obtained before the absence.

When a student has 3 unexcused absences, SFUSD sends the parent/guardian a letter informing them that the student has been classified as a truant. 

The school may request a meeting with the student and parent to agree on action steps.

Definitions of Truancy

Legal Truant:  A student who has three full-day unexcused absences in a school year, or three unexcused tardies or absences of 30 minutes or more in a school year, or any combination thereof.  Patterns of habitual tardiness (more than 10 days) may, in combination with other unexcused absences, form the basis for referral to Student and Family Services for support.

Habitual Truant: A student who has been reported as truant on three or more occasions in the same school year; provided that the District has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with the parent/guardian and student after filing the truancy reports described below.

Chronic Truant: A student who has been absent from school without a valid excuse for 10% or more of the school days in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date.

This page was last updated on December 19, 2022