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 acute or chronic 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.

The position statement on school attendance by the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health, published in February 2019 is an excellent resource for enlisting health providers in preventing health related absences.

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 this handout explaining the role they play in addressing chronic absence


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