Reporting an Absence
Contact Information :
Report absences via email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Communication via email is preferred)
Attendance Office - Main line : (650) 354-8210
Urgent/time sensitive information should be relayed to : (650) 354-8231
Some examples of urgent/time sensitive information are as follows :
Any matter that is related to a time sensitive, important or urgent issue, such as:
- Requiring your student to be taken out of class at short notice
- Requiring the Attendance Office to relay an important message to your student
- Requiring to discuss an issue with an Attendance Office staff member regarding your student's attendance
If you simply need to report that your student is going to be late to a period or will be missing one or more periods, this information can be left on the MAIN LINE telephone number or sent via the email address.
Office hours: 8:00AM - 4:00PM
Only the legal parent/guardian may excuse a student’s absence or tardy
Please report absences via email instead of phone call or voice messages, if possible. Any voice messages left after 2:30 PM will be documented by the Attendance clerk the next business day. It is the parent’s responsibility to know when their student is not in school and to provide the reason, for all absences, to the school within 72 hours of the absence. Failure to do so will result in a student receiving a cut for the class and possible loss of opportunity to make-up work or tests.
When contacting the Attendance Office, please provide the following information:
(If leaving a voicemail message, please speak slowly and clearly and spell the name of the student):
- Name of the student.
- Provide the grade level of the student
- Provide your name and state your relationship to the student.
- Give the reason for the absence and the days/periods missed.
- Provide a valid email address or telephone number where you may be reached.
If your student is "on campus" at the time of an absence, they will require a staff member to excuse them.
If your student is ill and cannot attend class, they need to report to the Health Office with their teacher's permission.
If a student must leave campus during the day, the parent/guardian needs to notify the Attendance Office by email, in person or by telephone.
The Attendance Office requires advance notice, preferably the day before, if a student needs to leave campus during class time. A pink Off-Campus Pass is required by the student so that the teacher knows the student has permission to leave class early. If the student does not pick up the Off-Campus Pass before school, the Attendance Office personnel will send the Pass to the student’s classroom.
The student will be required to show the Off-Campus Pass to their teacher before being allowed to leave the class. The Pass will indicate the time of departure and the reason for leaving the campus. If the student returns to school the same day, they are required to sign in at the Attendance Office and to fill out a slip. This slip will indicate to the teacher that the student has signed in at the Attendance Office.
If you neglect to advise the Attendance Office in advance of your student’s leave time, please email first thing in the morning. You can also call the Attendance Office phone number which is specifically available for time sensitive information: Ph: 650-354-8231.
If a student is leaving the campus in between classes, an Off-Campus Pass slip is not required except if leaving at brunch, before FlexTime. FlexTime is regularly scheduled on Tuesdays at 10.00 am and Thursdays at 10.05 am.
Parents are to notify the Attendance Office when their student is going to arrive late to school. The parent will provide the reason for the tardy and the time of anticipated arrival. The student will report to the Attendance Office to sign in before proceeding to class.
Tardy Process and Procedures
Teachers file tardy policies with Instructional Supervisors and the Principal at the start of the school year.
Teachers formally notify students:
- Class expectations stated at the beginning of a course.
- At the 3rd tardy, a verbal warning to the student.
- At the 5th tardy, the teacher officially notifies the student, parent, counselor and Attendance Office with a Notification of Tardiness form. The teacher also personally contacts the parent/guardian to address the student's tardy issue.
- At 8 or more tardies, the teacher will notify the student, parent, counselor and an administrator, and may request one or more of the following actions may be taken; loss of open-campus privileges, family meeting, referral to SARB process, counseling referral, and/or loss of prep periods.
The Auto-Dialer message is sent to parents/guardians each evening alerting them to any unknown absence their student may have had during the day.
It is the parent’s responsibility to know when their student is not in class. The Auto-dialer system assists in communicating to the home when a student is absent from class; however, it is not a perfect system. We encourage parents/guardians to frequently check their student’s attendance record via Infinite Campus and to contact the attendance office to excuse any student absence within the 72 hour time period.
Student attendance data is available via the parent Infinite Campus Portal (https://pausdca.infinitecampus.org/campus/portal/paloalto.jsp). If you need assistance resetting your password, please email email@example.com.
Accepted Excused Absences
Health, bereavement, pre-arranged college visits, family emergency, religious holidays and warranted absences are the only absences that are considered excused absences.
A medical note is required when a student has been absent from school, for health reasons, for a period of 5 consecutive school days.
If a student is unable to participate in PE due to an illness or injury, the student is still required to report to PE, even if they are not going to be participating in the class. If the non participation is just for a single day, the parent/guardian should send a note with their student alerting the PE teacher to the fact that they do not want their student participating in PE.
If a student is unable to participate in PE for an extended period of time, (more than just one day), a medical note needs to be supplied to the Health Office Technician who will notify the PE teacher of the reason and dates the student is unable to participate in class.
Medical documentation is also required if a student has been absent with health absences for 10 percent or more of the school year. This translates into one or more periods of health absences, per day, over a period of 18 days. The 18 days is taken from the first day of the school year.
These include, but are not limited to court appearances, outside sporting events and personal reasons approved by an Administrator. Family oriented absences such as vacations or other similar personal absences, do not fall into this category.
- Obtain a Prior Approval Form (or from the Gunn Main Office or Attendance Office)
- The student and a parent/guardian need to sign the form
- Obtain teacher signatures, along with class assignments
- Return the form to the Attendance Office, with a letter from home, at least 2 days in advance of the requested absence
- The Attendance personnel will return the form to the Main Office for final administrator approval.
Seniors and second semester juniors, with written prior approval, may take five (5) days of Independent Study to visit college campuses. Students who do not complete a Prior Approval form prior to the visit, will be excused with a red "Other Unexcused” code for classes/days missed and may lose the opportunity to make up assignments/tests.
Students are required to obtain approval for a warranted absence by completing a Prior Approval form following the above process.
The teacher of any class from which a student is absent shall determine what assignments the student shall make up and in what period of time the student shall complete such assignments. Upon satisfactory completion, full credit shall be granted. The tests and assignments shall be equivalent to, but not necessarily identical t those which the student missed during the absence.
When referring to your student’s attendance record on line, a personal excuse code will either have a red background or a green background.
Other Excused: OTE (green background)
The OTE code (Personal Excused absence, green background), results from the student filling out a Warranted Absence form PRIOR to the absence. This code is used for warranted personal absences or absences at the discretion of the Administration. A Warranted Absence is an absence that is educationally based.
Other Unexcused: OTU (red background)
The OTU code (Personal Unexcused absence, red background), is used to excuse personal commitment absences such as non-health related appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of school hours or when no Warranted Absence form has been completed.
Gunn High School complies with the State of California Education Code and, as such, this OTU code is not recognized by the State of California as an excused absence. Once a student has 3 OTU codes on their attendance record, they will be considered truant by the State. If a student is marked with the OTU code, teachers are not obligated to grant credit for assignments, nor permit a student to make up tests they may miss while absent for this personal reason.
Absences without parent, guardian or school approval shall be marked as cuts. Consequences for cuts (per semester):
- One, two, and three cuts: If possible, parents shall be notified via auto dialer for each absence. Truancy Letter #1 will also be sent home after the third cut.
- Six cuts: At the sixth cut, Truancy letter #2 will be sent home. The student's Counselor/Administrator team shall be notified that the student is now truant with 6 cuts. The student will be required to meet with their counselor to discuss their truancy and ways to improve class attendance.
- Ten cuts: Truancy Letter #3 will be sent home. One or more of the following actions may be taken; loss of open-campus privileges, family meeting, referral to SARB process, counseling referral, and/or loss of prep periods.
In cases of questionable or excessive absenteeism, the school district may require a variety of reasonable methods for verification of illness, such as written excuses from parents or documentation from a physician or other health providers.
Excessive Health Absences
Students will be required to provide medical documentation when they have been absent from school due to health reasons for more than 10 percent of the school year.
Students Marked Absent in Error
If a student believes they have been marked absent in error, they will need to talk to their teacher to have the absence corrected. The student can pick up a yellow Attendance Correction form from the Attendance Office, have their teacher sign the form and return it to the Attendance Office for correction.
The Palo Alto Unified School District recognizes that success in school is in part related to prompt and regular classroom attendance. Frequent absences or tardies, which result in a student’s missing all or parts of presentations, demonstrations, discussions, explanations, and/or other classroom activities, are detrimental to the individual student and the class. Student non-attendance and/or persistent tardiness are therefore matters of serious concern. When a student’s class load falls below five (5) classes, he/she is referred to the Alternative Program Review Team for possible placement in Continuation or Opportunity School. A student must be enrolled in and attending five (5) classes in order to be a student at Gunn High School.
This is a district-level committee which diverts minor students with school attendance or behavior problems from the Juvenile Court System and provides a forum where the problems affecting school adjustment can be discussed and solutions reached. To prevent students from establishing a continuing pattern of poor attendance or behavior, SARB may make dispositions which range from returning a student to the school of attendance under strict contract to making an involuntary transfer to another district program or educational option. Whereas the primary purpose is diversion, SARB is also the primary vehicle for referring students to the Juvenile Justice System once it is clear that they can no longer profit from the resources which the school district has to offer.