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San Mateo High School Attendance Procedures

Attendance Policies

Being present at school everyday is key to student learning and success in high school. All students are expected to be on time to all of their classes each day. 

If a student must miss a day of school, arrive late or leave early their parent/guardian must report their absence directly with the Attendance Office so the absence can be excused or they can given a Permit to Leave. Absences not cleared after 2 days will be considered a cut. 

Report absences to the Attendance Office by:

Absences may be excused for the following reasons (SMUHSD BR 5113)

  1. Personal illness, including absences for benefit of the students’ mental or behavioral health
  2. Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer
  3. Medical, dental, optometrical or chiropractic services or appointment
  4. Attendance at funeral services for a member of the student’s immediate family
  5. Justifiable personal reasons including: appearance in court, observance of religious holiday or ceremony

If a student misses more than 14 days due to illness a physician verification may be required to excuse future absences.

Permit to Leave 
If a student has to leave school early, they MUST get a Permit to Leave from the Attendance Office BEFORE leaving campus. Leaving school without a permit from the attendance office is considered a cut and may not be excused by a note or call afterwards. A parent/ guardian must complete the SMHS Absence Reporting Form or call the Attendance Office before 8:30 am. Students must stop by the Attendance Office during brunch or lunch to pick up their permit to leave. Students must show the permit to leave to their teacher and any other adult as they leave campus.

Students who are found to have been off campus during the school day will have their belongings searched, parent/guardian contacted and be assigned a hour of Choices. Parents will be notified daily of their students’ cuts each day via the automated phone system. All unexcused absences will be considered a cut/ truant if not reported by a parent/guardian within 2 days of the absence.

Students who are found to be tardy to class in a Tardy Sweep will be assigned a hour of Choices. Students who do not attend Choices will be assigned additional consequences including Saturday School and Reset Monday. Teachers are encouraged to assign consequences as described in their classroom management plan and inform parents/ guardians of tardies.

Students who are sick are encouraged to stay at home. Parent/ guardians must report absences related to illness to the Attendance Office within 2 days. A student who feels too ill to remain at school during the school day must report to the Health office to obtain a Permit to Leave school. Parent/guardian will be notified. If the parent or guardian cannot be reached, the person listed on the emergency contact must be notified. Students will be marked CUT if they leave without a permit. 

Not At School (NAS)
Students who have a “Not-at-School” period on their schedule should have a sticker on their I.D. card for the semester or duration of the school year. Stickers may be obtained from Ms. Maldonado in the Counseling Office. Students MUST carry their I.D. card with them at all times. Students who have a “Not-at-School” period in the middle of their class schedule (periods 3-5) must report to the library and are NOT allowed to leave campus. Once a student arrives at school, they may not leave without parental permission and a Permit to Leave from the Attendance office. Students who have a “Not-at-School period during 1st/2nd or 6th/7th period are permitted to leave campus as long as they have completed all classes that day.  Students who leave campus early are not permitted back on campus unless they have a note from a parent/guardian and are returning to class (i.e. returning from a doctor’s visit in the middle of the day). 

Students must attend all of their classes each day and have a parent/guardian report absences to the Attendance Office. Each month, students with fewer than 3 days of CUTS/ unexcused absences will be acknowledged with an Outstanding Attendance recognition. Monthly Outstanding Attendance recognition can earn students additional incentives and rewards over the course of the year. 

Students who have 3 or more days of CUTs/ unexcused absences will not be eligible to participate in student activities for the following month, including dances and sports events. Eligibility to activities will reset each month based on students attendance in the prior month.

  • 7 period tardies =  1 day of CUTS/ unexcused absences

Chronic Absenteeism
Attendance is closely monitored and families will receive regular communication and support regarding their student’s attendance. Students who continue to be truant, and their parents/guardians, will be required to attend meetings with school administrators and may be referred to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) who attempts to understand why students experience attendance problems and makes every effort to assist in correcting the problem(s).  Learn more: /Page/4685


Excused Absences * Students are permitted to make up all work missed.

A - Activity/School Business

G - Religious - A student’s absence from school for religious reasons. 

I - Illness - the school may require the certificate of a doctor if it is deemed advisable. This is mandatory after five consecutive days. 

M - Excused Tardy- A student has a note from a staff member clearing the student’s tardy or the student has a note from parent/guardian with reason for tardy.

S - Suspended

X - Excused, COVID related absence (illness, symptoms, exposure)

Unexcused Absences *Students may be permitted to make up work at the teacher’s discretion

B - Tardy (30+ minutes) - If a student arrives to class after 30 minutes past the start of class.  

L - Late/Tardy (regardless of minutes of class time missed)

T - Truant/Cut (No make-up work allowed) - Cuts are defined as any absence not cleared by parents/guardians or student left campus without permission

U - Unverified Absence - Parent has not reported the absence to the attendance office.  They have two days to report the absence or else it will be considered a truancy (T). The code will be changed from U to T.