Given the role that illness plays in contributing to school absences, health providers and school nurses have an important role in ensuring students do not miss school unnecessarily because of chronic illness or lack of access to health care. What you do can make a big difference in whether students show up for class ready to learn. Read this handout to learn why health care providers should care about attendance and what they can do.

Research Summaries

The National Collaborative on Education and Health  has created these summaries of research connecting health and chronic absence:


These fliers help parents decide when their children are too sick for school.


Grantmakers in Health hosted this webinar to help explain why chronic absenteeism is of interest to health funders, how philanthropy and federal agencies are tackling the issue, and how foundations and corporate giving programs can become involved in driving solutions.

Elev8 Baltimore and the Baltimore Student Attendance Campaign collaborated to prepare a preliminary review of absenteeism and school-based health services in Baltimore City. It is a first look into the links between absenteeism and school health from a local, state and national perspective.


Use this tool to assess what policies and practices your school, school-based clinic, or medical practice employs to reduce school absences.


California School Health Centers Association produced this toolkit that includes a section on how to identify and intervene with chronically absent students. It offers tips and case studies for home visits, case management and other strategies.

The Healthy Schools Campaign created a toolkit for educators, with a focus on district decision-makers, with tips, case studies and proven school-based interventions to support students with high absenteeism. The six-part toolkit includes strategies for developing community and public health partners. Download the toolkit sections:

Health and Chronic Absence

These tools present general information about the relationship between poor health and chronic absence.

Specific Health Issues

Here are some in depth resources for addressing specific health issues that present barriers to attendance.

Dental Health


Mental health