Table of Contents

Policy 500.35 – Student Attendance

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Board Policy

  1. The Board of Education is committed to compliance with the state’s compulsory education requirements for students between the ages of six and 18. Compliance with the state’s compulsory education requirements includes following state laws and administrative rules regarding excused and unexcused absences, recording attendance, truancy, released-time classes, hospital and homebound services, and exemptions from attendance.  
  2. The Board recognizes regular student attendance is a significant component of a student’s achievement and academic success and has a cumulative effect of establishing life-long positive traits as responsibility, determination, and punctuality, that are critical for developing college and career readiness skills.
  3. The Board also recognizes that continuing membership and student enrollment status is a critical component for academic and fiscal administration of traditional education programs (e.g., students in physical classrooms) as well as nontraditional programs (e.g., online or distance learning programs), and authorizes student accounting and designates a continuing enrollment measurement.
  4. The Board delegates to the Superintendent or designee the responsibility to direct local school administrators in the development of school-wide attendance plans, to follow policy and state requirements, promote and monitor regular attendance, and enforce state truancy laws.
  5. The Board authorizes the Superintendent to establish administrative regulations consistent with this policy, subject to review and approval by the Board.



Definitions - 500.35-1

  1. Absence: Failure of a student, who is assigned to a class or class period, to attend the entire class or class period.
  2. Valid Excused Absence:
    1. an illness, which may be either mental or physical, regardless of whether the school-age child or parent provides documentation from a medical professional;
    2. mental or behavior health of the school-age child; 
    3. a family death;
    4. an approved school activity;
    5. an absence permitted by a school age minor’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan; or
    6. any other valid excuse approved by the local school board.  The Canyons Board of Education has approved the following as additional valid excuses:
      1. a family emergency;
      2. a family event;
      3. observance of religious holiday;
      4. medical appointment;
      5. scheduled pre-approved education leave.
    7.  The District or school may not require documentation from a medical professional to substantiate a valid excuse that is a mental or physical illness.
  3. Guardian Excused: An absence excused by a parent/legal guardian within up to five school days of the absence occurring.  In high schools, a guardian excused absence will count toward an administrative no grade (NG).
  4. Unexcused Absence: Any absence without a valid excuse.
  5. Chronic Absenteeism: A percentage measure of how much school a student misses for any reason, including excused and unexcused absences.   Students are considered chronically absent if they miss more than 10% of enrolled school days.  Students who are chronically absent may be at-risk for academic failure.
  6. Face-to-face learning program: means a public school program that consists of eligible public education students who physically attend school in a brick and mortar school.
  7. Nontraditional program: means a public school program that consists of eligible, enrolled public education students where students primarily receive instruction through distance learning, online, blended, or a competency based learning program.
  8. Truant:  Absence without a valid excuse, or a refusal to regularly attend school or a scheduled period of the school day.



School Wide Attendance Plan; Student Attendance; Disclosure Statements; Minors Exempt from School Attendance; Compulsory Education and Truancy Notification - 500.35-2

School Wide Attendance Plan:

  1. Each school shall develop a schoolwide attendance plan that complies with state and District policies. Development of a schoolwide attendance plan shall include use of research findings, faculty and staff consensus, community input, and involve the respective School Performance director.
  2. Upon registration, the District or schools will provide parents/legal guardians and students a copy of Policy—500.35—Student Attendance and a copy of the individual school plan. The individual school plan will be available and readily accessible on the school’s website.
  3. A compulsory education notice will be included in online registration and in other publications sent to community and patrons, and on school/district websites.
  4. Each school must have a plan to monitor and track student attendance and chronic absenteeism. The plan should include appropriate interventions and incentives to help students who may have attendance issues and/or are truant from school.
    1. Teachers must accurately record student attendance daily for students in elementary schools, and during each period at the secondary level.
    2. School staff will follow guidelines for absence reporting and coding, as established by the Department of Planning and Enrollment (See, Exhibit—1—Attendance Codes).
  5. School principals will submit the school attendance plan annually to their respective School Performance director for review and approval.

Student Attendance:

  1. Parents and students are jointly responsible for regular attendance at school.
  2. Students may be excused from school attendance for valid excused absences:: illness, mental or behavioral health of the school-age child; medical appointment, family emergencies, death, education leave/family event, an approved school activity, observance of religious holidays, or an excuse consistent with the student’s IEP, or Section 504 accommodation plan.
  3. All absences are considered unexcused until the parent communicates with the school regarding the student’s absence, and the absence is resolved by the school staff.
  4. Parents must excuse each day of their student’s absence.
  5. In addition to valid excused absences, elementary and middle school students are allowed five (5) parent/legal guardian excused absences or (5) full-school days, or its equivalent in time based on a secondary schedule in a given school year.
  6. Individual high school attendance plans recognize the importance of class attendance and participation, and students must attend class consistently to earn course credit.
    1. Students with four to six (4-6) unexcused or guardian excused absences or tardies in a grading period may receive an administrative no grade (NG). A no grade indicates the student is passing the class, but has lost credit for the class due to excessive absences or tardies.  Individual high school attendance plans provide options for how a student may remove an administrative no grade. 
    2. Appeal: If an issue arises regarding an administrative no grade (NG) that cannot be resolved at the local school level, an appeal may be made to the District for review by a three-person panel appointed by the Superintendent or designee.
  7. Scheduled Pre-approved Education  Leave is considered a valid excused absence. A student may be allowed up to ten (10) days for education leave in a given school year, if prior arrangements have been made with the school for the student to make up his/her homework.   An education leave form shall be provided to the school administration in advance of the education leave.
    1. Additional days for education leave are subject to approval by the School Performance Director.
  8. Students with valid excused absences will be expected to make-up work and assignments, however it is their responsibility to obtain make-up work from their teachers. Students with unexcused absences may be able to make-up work subject to approval by the principal.  A student’s academic grade should not be penalized for absences or tardies.
  9. A suspended student is expected to make-up work and will be provided an opportunity to make-up work within a reasonable time-frame as determined by the school plan, subject to review by the Office of School Performance.
  10. A student with an approved school absence is expected to make-up work and will be provided an opportunity to make-up work within a reasonable time-frame as determined by the school plan, subject to review by the Office of School Performance.
  11. If a parent fails to make prior arrangements with the principal for extended student absences and if the school cannot locate the parent or student to verify the reason for the student’s prolonged absence, the student’s absence is unexcused.
    1. If a student’s unexcused absences extend beyond ten (10) consecutive school days, and diligent efforts have been taken to verify the reason for the extended absence without success, the student may be withdrawn by the principal.
  12. Students who have been withdrawn by the principal may be re-enrolled when he or she returns to school.

Disclosure Statements:

Secondary school teachers shall develop a disclosure statement for each course in compliance with District and school guidelines.

  1. All disclosure statements must be consistent with the District attendance policy and receive administrative approval prior to distribution to students and parents.
  2. Disclosure statements shall include, but are not limited to, grading expectations for course components, including: assessments, assignments, and citizenship expectations.
  3. Procedures and timelines shall be established for making up work and earning points/credit missed due to a legitimate absence.
  4. All students shall receive disclosure statements for all classes on or before the fifth day of enrollment in the course. Parents and students shall be encouraged to return signed disclosure statements in a timely manner, typically two to four days.
  5. Teachers may award a nominal amount of points/credit for the return of signed disclosure statements within the established time frame.
  6. A current copy of each teacher’s disclosure statement will be maintained by the school and be accessible in an electronic format.

Minors Exempt from School Attendance:

Exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirement include the following:

  1. A school-age minor over age 16 may receive a partial release from school to enter employment, or attend a trade school, if the school-age minor has completed the eighth grade. Minors exempted under this provision are required to attend part-time schooling or home schooling as prescribed by the board.
  2. On an annual basis, a school age minor may receive a full release, from attending a public or part-time school or class if:
    1. A school-age minor has completed the work required for graduation from high school, or has demonstrated mastery of required skills and competencies.
    2. A school-age minor is in a physical or mental condition which renders attendance inexpedient and impracticable (the condition must be certified by a competent physician).
    3. A school age minor’s employment provides proper influences and adequate opportunities for education.
    4. The Superintendent or designee has determined that a school-age minor over the age of sixteen (16) is unable to profit from attendance at school because of inability or a continuing negative attitude toward school regulations and discipline.
  3. A school age minor is excused from attendance, if the minor’s parent files a signed and notarized affidavit with the District that the minor will:
    1. Attend home school; and
    2. The parent assumes sole responsibility for the education of the minor, except to the extent a school-age minor is dual enrolled in a public school.
    3. A signed and notarized affidavit filed with the District will remain from year to year as along as a minor attends home school and the District remains the minor’s District of residence.
  4. The Planning and Enrollment Department will issue a certificate stating the school-age minor is excused from attendance for the specific school year:
    1. within thirty (30) days after receipt of a signed and notarized affidavit filed; and
    2. on or before August 1 each year thereafter unless:
      1. the school-age minor enrolls in a school within the district;
      2. the parent notifies the District that the minor no longer attends a home school; or
      3. the district of residence has changed.

Compulsory Education and Truancy Notification:

Until June 1, 2022, a school administrator, or designee, may not issue or otherwise enforce a notice of truancy or a notice of compulsory education.  See, S.B. 219, Truancy Enforcement Moratorium (2021).

In accordance with state law, a school administrator, school resource officer, or truancy specialist may issue:

  1. A notice of compulsory education violation to a parent of a school-age child if the school-age child is absent without a valid excuse at least five times during the school year.
    1. A notice of compulsory education violation shall:
      1. direct the parent of the school-age child to meet with school authorities to discuss school attendance problems;
      2. designate the school authorities with whom the parent is required to meet;
      3. state that it is a class B misdemeanor for the parent of the school-age child to intentionally or recklessly fail to meet with designated school authorities to discuss attendance problems or fail to prevent the school-age child from being absent without a valid excuse five or more times during the remainder of the school year;
      4. be served on the school-age parent by personal service or certified mail; and
      5. not be issued unless the school age child has been truant at least five times during the school year.
  2. A truancy notification to a student and his/her parent for chronic absences.
    1. A truancy notice will not be issued to a student who is:
      1. younger than twelve (12) years old; or
      2. exempt from school attendance in accordance with state law.
    2. A truancy notice will direct the student and the parent to meet with school authorities to discuss truancy; and to cooperate with school authorities to assist the student with regular attendance.



Student Accounting - 500.35-3

Student Accounting in Face-to-Face and Nontraditional Programs:

  1. The Department of Planning and Enrollment will maintain a system of student accounting for individual students in face-to face and nontraditional programs.
  2. The District will designate a continuing membership/enrollment status for students to:
    1. Document if a public education student does not satisfactorily participate in on-line coursework for ten consecutive school days.
    2. Measure and document each student’s continued enrollment every ten consecutive school days;
    3. Update student membership records in the student information system;
    4. Document the adjusted student membership information for students that did not meet the continuing enrollment measurement; and
    5. Retain evidence of attendance records.



Document History

Revised – 8.20.2021.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance was updated to align a Board-Approved absence with Utah Code for scheduled pre-approved education leave, and add a reminder regarding the Truancy Enforcement Moratorium pursuant to S.B. 219 Truancy Enforcement Moratorium, which prohibits the issuance and enforcement of notices of compulsory education violations and notice of truancy until June 1, 2022.     
Revised – 5.4.2021.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance – was updated in accordance with the 2021 Legislative Session.  The update includes new definitions for valid excuses for an illness, which may be either mental or physical, regardless of whether the school-sage child or parent provides documentation from a medical professional; and a mental health day for the mental or behavioral health of a school-age child.  Also a school district may not require documentation from a medical professional or substantiate a valid excuse that is a mental or physical illness. 
Revised – 8.18.2020.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance – was updated in accordance with the 2020 Legislative Session.  Definition updates for Absence, School-age child, and Truant.  
– Absence: An “absence” or “absent” does not mean multiple tardies to
calculate an absence for the sake of truancy.  School-aged child: means a minor who is at least six years old but younger
than 18 years old; and is not emancipated.
– Truant: means a condition in which school-age child, without a valid excuse, and subject to is absent for at least half of the school day. 
– New Definitions for Learner validated program, and Learner validated enrollment measurement.
 – Learner validated program: means a public school program that consists of eligible, enrolled public education students where students primarily receive instruction through distance learning, online, blended, or a competency based learning program. 
– Learner validated enrollment measurement: means a methodology used to establish a student’s membership
Revised – 6.12.2018.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance – was revised to clarify language regarding valid excused absences and guardian excused absences.  Language was added for an appeal process for District-Level review of administrative no grades (NG) issued at the school level.  The policy refers to individual school plans for verification of valid excused absences language was added for availability and accessibility of individual school plan.

Adopted – 12.5.2017.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance is a new policy developed from merging existing student policies addressing student attendance, specifically Policy—500.35—Compulsory Attendance Ages (Teacher Disclosure Statements); Policy—500.36—Exclusions and Exemptions from School Attendance; Policy—500.37—Pupil Accounting, and Policy—500.38—Student Accounting Procedures. While some language was retained from previous policies, one policy is
recommended as obsolete, Policy 500.38, and the majority of the student attendance text is new and consistent state law.  (See, Utah Code 
§53A-11-101, et seq., (recodified now to §53G-6-201); Utah Admin. Code R277-607.  Truancy Prevention; Utah Admin. Code R277-610.  Release-Time Classes and the Public Schools.



This online presentation is an electronic representation of the Canyons School District’s currently adopted policy manual. It does not reflect updating activities in progress. The official, authoritative manual is available for inspection in the office of the Superintendent located at 9361 South 300 East Sandy, UT 84070.