Chronic Absence


COVID-19 Attendance Guidance

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our school communities, the location of learning has shifted to students’ homes, potentially increasing the resources needed for the otherwise straight-forward task of taking attendance. Guidance is provided below in a memorandum from Commissioner Cardona and two resources from the Department of Children and Families: 

Good attendance is essential to student achievement!

Research shows that absences add up and that good attendance is essential to student achievement and graduation.  Whereas, chronic absence and truancy can be lead to school drop-out, academic failure and juvenile delinquency. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10 percent or more of school for any reason including excused, unexcused and disciplinary absences.  It is a proven predictor of academic failure and dropout rates.  Absences occur due to many factors, e.g., health, unstable housing, lack of transportation, student disengagement from school, and safety/school climate.  By removing barriers to attendance, districts, schools and community partners can improve attendance.

Learn more:

Connecticut's Reducing Chronic Absence in Connecticut Schools: A Prevention and Intervention Guide for Schools and Districts provides additional support for schools and districts including: definitions, examples of  root causes, local intervention models; strategies for districts and schools as well as state and national resources. 

EdSight is the Connecticut State Department of Education's interactive data portal that provides data for schools, districts and the state, including chronic absence.

NOTE:  As of July 1, 2017, Public Act 17-14, Section 1(a)(2), removes any in-school suspension of a half day or more from the calculations of students absences done by local and regional boards of education, as per Circular Letter: C-1, Series 2017-2018.  Students attending in-school suspension for more than one-half of the school day should no longer be marked as not in attendance or absent from school that day

Chronic Absence vs. Truancy

Chronic absence and truancy are not interchangeable terms. They describe different aspects of the absence problem and require different approaches. Truancy is a term that generally refers to unexcused absences. Chronic absence, on the other hand, incorporates all absences: excused, unexcused absences, and suspensions and expulsions served. Guidance and resources are provided on the Truancy webpage.