Report an Absence

School Attendance
Every minute of a child’s time at school is important. Children who are absent for even one day, or who arrive later than their classmates, miss valuable instruction time and can easily fall behind in school. They also miss important socialization time and fun with their peers.

When a student is absent from school it results in a loss of funding for our district. The State of California does not reimburse school districts for days students are absent. For 2010-2011, the District lost over $2,000,000 in unearned income due to absences.

California State Law says that a child is absent if he/she is ill or if there is a death in the immediate family (1-3 day limit).  All other absences are unexcused.  Any tardy over 30 minutes, except for medical reasons, is also unexcused.  If your child has three unexcused absences or tardies, he/she will be considered truant.  To read more about our policy on truancy, visit the Student Services Department webpage.

Reporting Absences
Please call the school attendance line at your child’s school by 9 a.m. every day that your child will not be in school. When your child is absent from school, please phone the school office as soon as possible.  Some school sites have separate phone numbers to report absences.  When leaving a message regarding your child’s absence please provide the following information:

  • Student’s name

  • Date(s) absent

  • Grade/ teacher

  • Your name and your relation to child

  • Daytime phone number

  • Reason for absence

Absence Phone Numbers:

Berkeley Arts Magnet 644-6225 Cragmont 644-6333
Emerson 644-6891 Jefferson 644-6298
John Muir 644-6410 LeConte 644-6290
Malcolm X 644-6313 Oxford 644-6300
Rosa Parks 644-8812 Thousand Oaks 644-6368
Washington 644-6310
Longfellow 644-6260 King 644-6098
Willard 644-4564
Berkeley High 644-6341 (A–Go) 644-6194
644-6209 (O–Z)
BTech 644-6159

Students who arrive after the beginning of the school day are to check in with the office for a late arrival slip before reporting to their classroom.  Students may not call to report their own absence.  For specifics on high school attendance reporting procedures, please contact the number that corresponds to the first letter in the student’s last name.

While we discourage families from taking vacation or unexcused breaks from school, please contact your child’s school if you know that s/he is going to be absent for an extended period of time of a week or more.

Dismissal Due to Illness

A child may be sent home early from school if s/he is ill, or appears to be suffering from an infectious or contagious disease.  Parents/ guardians or emergency contacts listed will be contacted to pick up the child.

Should My Child Stay Home From School?
Parents frequently have questions about when it is appropriate to stay home from school because of illness. Here are some guidelines to help with your decision.

  • If your child feels ill enough that he/she would not be able to benefit from school.
  • If having your child at school would significantly put others at risk for contracting your child’s illness
  • If your child has vomited within the past 24 hours
  • If your child has/had a fever in the past 24 hours

How can I help keep my child healthy?
Following the WHACK the flu program at home can help keep kids in school.

W:  Wash your hands often;
H:  Home is where you stay when you are sick;
A:  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
C:  Cover your coughs and sneezes;
K:  Keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

To be admitted to school, children must be fully immunized in accordance with the law. Children shall be excluded from school or exempted from immunization requirements only as allowed by law.  Parents are required to provide documentation that their child has been immunized against the following:

  • Haemophilus Influenza (Hib) children under 5 years old
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella (chickenpox) 1 dose or physician documented varicella disease meets requirement for kindergarten entry
  • 7th – 12th Grade Students: all entering students must provide proof of a pertussis-containing vaccine (whooping cough) booster (e.g. Tdap) on or after their 7th birthday and a second measles (or MMR) shot. Two doses of Varicella (chickenpox) are recommended; for those vaccinated as a child with only one dose should get a second dose now.

Parent permission must be given in writing before any child can participate in any immunization program sponsored by the District.

What do we know about the correlation between health and academic achievement?
Good health is a reliable predictor of academic achievement.  That is why the Berkeley Unified School District works closely with the City of Berkeley Public Health Department to provide access to health services for children and youth.  The 2020 Vision is working toward the goal of good health for all of Berkeley’s children.

For more information on the correlation between health and academics, visit this link with information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

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