Health Care Providers

Given the role that physical and mental health 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  illness or lack of access to health care.

By showing the connection between health and attendance, school-based and community health providers can make the case for expanding health-related resources and services. Read this handout to learn why health care providers and advocates should care about attendance and what they can do.

Use this School-Based Health Program Self-Assessment tool to assess what policies and practices your school, school-based clinic, or medical practice employs to reduce school absences.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new Covid-19 Guidance for Safe Schools and Promotion of In-Person Learning (September 2022). It strongly advocates that daily school attendance be monitored for all students, and that schools should use multi-tiered strategies to proactively support student attendance. 

Scroll down the page for resources to help identify the health issues specific to your school and community, and to strategies to address them

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.

School Nurses: The National School Nurses Association created a manual that guides school nurses in addressing health related absences and chronic absence.

  • The Healthy and Ready to Learn initiative at Children’s Health Fund and Attendance Works developed two videos that explain the importance of attendance, how it is linked to health, and ways to create positive attendance culture in schools. Find the videos and additional resources to help start conversations on attendance.


California School Health Centers Association produced , Connecting Students to Mental Health Services: Creative Collaborations, Funding, and Evidence-Based Practices, a toolkit that includes a section on how to identify and intervene with chronically absent students.

Children’s Health Fund created, What Can I Do to Improve My Students’ Attendance?, a toolkit for educators with attendance team guidelines and workshop materials.

The Healthy Schools Campaign created Addressing the Health-Related Causes of Chronic Absenteeism: A Toolkit for Action, with includes strategies for developing community and public health partners.

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