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DJUSD Attendance Initiativeattendance logo

Davis Joint Unified Unified School District (DJUSD), through our We All Belong initiative, strives to engage students socially, emotionally, and academically in an inclusive environment. We want students to feel safe and to have access to academic opportunities to prepare them for their future. Because of this, attendance has become a major factor in supporting students in what they need to be successful. During the 2019-2020 school year, we focused on improving our messaging to all families, providing individualized supports to improve attendance, and increasing our district-wide attendance average. When school buildings closed in March 2020, due to COVID-19, our planning and priorities changed, but maximizing student participation and engagement remained critical. As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, we face the new challenge of planning around the COVID-19 pandemic. We don't yet know what school will look like in Fall 2020, but we do know that student engagement and attendance (whether in person, virtually, or a combination) are key determinants of success and student well-being.

Check back here for updates about how attendance will be tracked for the 2020-2021 school year, and to find out how you can support students to be successful in any version of school. 

What's New?

DJUSD schools will resume on August 26, 2020. As of June 23, we do not yet know what the format of school will be due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Project teams throughout the District are working on planning for the possibility of reopening school traditionally, virtually, or on a hybrid model. The Superintendent will continue to send out weekly updates as plans are developed.


We are working with the California Department of Education to determine how attendance will be tracked this year. Regardless of the format, we know that students are most successful when they are actively engaged in school, whether it is by in-person attendance, virtual participation, or both. Maintaining connections with school staff and other students, in-person or virtually, is also critical to students' well-being.

For the 2020-2021 school year, we will not be notifying families when students have accrued "Excessive Excused Absences." Sites will no longer request doctor's notes to verify continued absences due to illness, unless required for other reasons, or when helpful in supporting the student and family. 


Access to attendance and participation in classes may be different than in past years, if DJUSD utilizes a hybrid or distance learning model for the 2020-21 school year. Direct, timely communication with your school site is the best way to handle all student absences, whether they are planned ahead of time or not. The adoption of a new learning management system, and district-level planning for the possibility of hybrid or distance learning, may result in more flexibility and options for students to engage with school even if when not able to attend in-person. However, if you know that your student will not be able to attend/participate in school due to a planned absence of more than 5 days, you may still apply for Short Term Independent Study. 

Short Term Independent Study - Grades TK-6

Short Term Independent Study - Grades 7-12

Short Term Independent Study - Da Vinci Charter Academy


Knowing there are widely held and differing opinions in our Davis community around controversial topics, DJUSD recognizes the rights of students to express their views in exercise of their First Amendment rights.  In the case of on-campus student protests or expressions of free speech on campus, expectations for student behavior will be maintained in order to ensure safety. We also encourage families to discuss with students their views about controversial events.

Generally, normal instruction will continue during any voluntary, organized activity on campus and students who choose to participate in planned, on-campus activities are expected  to return to class following such events.

Students who leave class to participate in off-campus or other unauthorized activities will be considered “unexcused.” An initial unexcused absence will result in a phone call notification of the absence to the parent/guardian.  Students who participate in a campus disturbance shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with Board Policy and Administrative Regulations (See Board Policy 5131.4 and Administrative Regulation 5131.4).

Helpful Attendance Information

Rules of Attendance Accounting
Attendance Matters!

These rules are being revised for the 2020-2021 school year to account for the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the possibilities of hybrid or distance learning. The information below explains how attendance accounting was done during the 2019-2020 school year, until March 2020.

When students are absent from school, the State allows the absence to be excused for a medical illness, appointments related to health, and other reasons listed below.* Excused absences carry the right to make up work and a period of time to do that without penalty. It is essential for parents to inform the school of absences, and we will alert parents of attendance issues via automated calling systems and Parent Connect.

Absences are marked unverified until we hear from the parent/guardian within 48 hours of the absence. The absence then becomes either excused or unexcused based on the specified reasons allowed by the State. If no call is received after two school days, then the unverified absence becomes an unexcused absence.

When students are unexcused, they do not have the right to make up missed work, and are subject to intervention if they accumulate more than three days of unexcused absence (truancy). Education Code requires that the District send a formal letter after three days of unexcused/unverified absence and additional letters for any more unexcused absences.

The need to clarify the reason for the absence is unrelated to collecting school funding. The State does not provide funding for the day if a student is absence for any reason, whether excused or unexcused. Keeping track of the reasons for absences is an Education Code requirement related to compulsory education and the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child is in school.

When children are ill, we want them to recover and avoid infecting others. However, in the case of an elective absence, we hope that parents will weigh the impact of lost instructional time for the child as well as the lost funding to the school. The district does offer short-term independent study to students who will be traveling for five or more consecutive days. Under independent study the missed days become instructional days, the absences are excused, and state funding is allotted for those days as long as all the assigned work is completed.

Please call your school if you have further questions. We want to work together for the benefit of all our students.

*State of California Excused absences: illness; quarantine; medical, dental, optometry, chiropractic service; funeral for immediate family member, limited to one day in California, three days out of state; jury duty; medical appointment for a child in the custody of the student; justifiable reason (court appearance, religious holiday/ceremony, employment conference) with written request of parent/guardian and approved by the principal or designee. Ed Code 48205

For more information contact Cristina Buss, Manager of Student Support Services (Attendance).
Q & A

What do I do if my child is absent? 

Notify the school within 48 hours of absence and provide the reason for the absence and the dates that apply. Upon returning to school, make sure to send written documentation that is signed by a parent/guardian and/or medical professional. If make-up work is allowable, make sure arrangements have been made with your student's teachers and that the work is completed within the designated timeline.

What do I do if I know my child is going to be absent 5 consecutive days or more?

Contact DSIS to determine if Independent Travel Study would be appropriate. It is crucial that all work assigned during Short Term Independent Study (Independent Travel Study) be completed and returned promptly when the student returns. Visit Short Term Independent Study to learn more

How can parents help with student attendance?

  • Plan vacations during non-school days

  • Schedule your child's medical and dental appointments at the end of the school day

  • Make sure they go to school every day unless they are ill

  • Take an interest in your child's schoolwork

  • If your child starts to miss school, speak to the school and let your child know he/she must attend

  • If your child is ill, contact the school and explain the reason for the absence
  • Set a schedule at home for homework, meals, and bedtime/wake-up time to ensure success

What should I do if my child refuses to get up and go to school?

If after reasonable efforts fair, you should contact the school counselor or administrator. This will likely result in a conference and possible home visit.

Is regular attendance for kindergarten students required?

School age students, age 5-18 years, are expected to attend school regularly. There is no exemption for kindergarten students.

Who should be contacted if the family experiences a hardship such as loss of employment, housing or is dealing with a mental health issue?

The school should be contacted immediately if support is needed for any of the above.

State of California Education Code (Attendance)
View the California Education Code as it relates to Attendance. 
Absenteeism and GPA
View helpful resources that explain how absenteeism affects a student's GPA. 
College Visitation
Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, seniors only may receive a maximum of two (2) days for college visits as excused absences, provided the visits are pre-approved by an administrator, are followed with appropriate documentation from the institution of higher education and submitted for approval within 3 days of the visit. All other college visits will be considered unexcused.
Visual Media About Attendance
Click on a video to gain insight into how attendance effects student growth and achievement.

Why 100% attendance is important for your child.

The Importance of School Attendance

School Attendance: A building block of student achievement
10 Facts About School Attendance
If You Have More Questions..

Cristina Buss