Seattle Public Schools

Attendance Procedure Changes for Excused Absences

In December 2020, and in preparation for a return to in-person instruction, Superintendent Procedure 3121SP, Attendance was revised to implement a new state law requirement and added three new district-created attendance criteria based on student, family, and community feedback.

New Criteria for Excused Absences

Washington State Law RCW 28C.18.068 requires the accommodation of student absences for:

a) A reason of faith or conscience, or for an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, for up to two days per school year. This criterion will help to accommodate the diversity of religious holidays celebrated in our community.

District-created criteria added for accommodation of student absences:

a) School route weather conditions that create an unsafe condition for transport to school;

b) District-provided transportation delay or failure to pick up; and

c) Participation in one civic engagement activity each semester when the student submits a completed civic engagement activity absence form signed by a parent/guardian describing the nature of the civic engagement activity two days before the planned absence.

Students have no control over school route weather conditions, nor district-provided transportation delays or cancellations, and absences due to those circumstances will now be excused.

Seattle Public Schools also believes students have an important voice in their education and in our community. Participation in civic engagement provides students a valuable opportunity to learn firsthand the important role each of us can have in our communities and in our democracy. Civic engagement activities can include, but are not limited to, legislative visits, campaigning, peaceful protests, awareness walks, or advocacy efforts. Other than those activities required by Seattle Public Schools course curriculum, civic engagement activities are optional. As such, civic engagement activities are not supervised by District staff.

Seattle Public Schools students are some of the most civically engaged people in our city. Our district should honor opportunities for learning and engagement that participating alongside fellow students toward a common purpose brings,” said School Board Director Zachary DeWolf. “This attendance update means SPS students can continue to follow their passions and make our communities, and ultimately our world, a better place than they found it.”

Thank you to School Board Director Zachary DeWolf and Senior Legal Counsel Ronald Boy for leading these efforts and adjustments to this important Superintendent Procedure.

The Civic Engagement Activity Excused Absence Form is available now for student and family use.

Learn more about attendance at Seattle Public Schools.

You may also be interested in

Requesting Religious Accommodations

Seattle Public Schools affirms and supports students and staff from all faith backgrounds. Students and staff may request religious accommodations.

Advanced Learning Policy Revisions Adopted

Advanced Learning Policy Revisions Adopted On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Seattle School Board approved revisions and an amendment to Policy No. 2190, Highly Capable Services. The school board’s approval is a historic and bold step toward ensuring educational excellence for every student in Seattle Public Schools. Over the next…