How to Handle an Extended School Absence

In many areas, school attendance requirements are quite strict—with good reason, as a child’s education is of the utmost importance. But for those students with a chronic illness or injury, health has to come first, and schools can and should help you honor that shift in priority. Ways to handle an extended school absence include notifying teachers immediately, familiarizing yourself with programs and policies, and utilizing available technology.

A little preparation, research, and a lot of communication can make extended or frequent absences a little easier on your already stressed student. Keep reading to learn how to handle an extended school absence.

Handle an extended school absence by notifying administrators and teachers immediately

In this situation, communication is key. Notify your child’s school as soon as you can, and create a plan for further and frequent communication during your student’s absence. Perhaps his or her teacher is willing to check in with you via telephone at regular intervals, or maybe the school has a coordinator who steps in to assist in situations like these. Either way, the school should know what’s going on so that it can help you and your child avoid falling behind.

[RELATED: 3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher]

Handle an extended school absence by familiarizing yourself with helpful programs

Depending on the situation, your student may qualify for assistance plans like an IEP, or Individualized Education Program, or a 504 plan. For instance, your student may qualify for a one-on-one aide who can serve as your liaison with the school.

If your child will be experiencing an extended hospital stay, check in with hospital administrators about education options. Especially at children’s hospitals, healthcare centers may have on-site resources like classrooms and instructors that can help your student keep up with coursework.

Handle an extended school absence by making use of technology

Online tests, online courses, and even online schools are growing in popularity these days, so looking into these options for your student may provide you with a perfect and flexible solution. Even if you choose to stick with your current education plan, using online programming and communications tools can help your student…

  • Fight social isolation

  • Stay in touch with their teachers and friends about assignments

  • Access extra tools for learning.

Your child’s teacher may be interested in implementing online tools to accommodate your student. Don’t hesitate to see what options he or she can provide for you.

[RELATED: How Online Learning Helps Students]

Handle an extended school absence by finding school buddies

Your time is likely already strained, but maintaining strong social ties is a great idea. Ask a few of your child’s school friends if they’d be willing to stop by and have “homework parties,” or even just call once a week to go over a list of that week’s assignments and lessons. This will help relieve some of your responsibility, and it will help your student stay socially active.

Extended school absences, while stressful, don’t have to be completely overwhelming. Remember to maintain good communication with school personnel and classmates, and have a plan for how you’ll continue to communicate over the course of the absence. Get familiar with the programs and resources available to you, and rely on friends and technology to make it easier to keep track of what needs to get done.

[RELATED: How Parents Can Help with Elementary Homework Challenges]


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