It is essential for students to attend school daily in order to acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to be college- and career-ready. Parents, guardians and students are all responsible for making sure students are on time and ready to learn.

School attendance is required by state law for students up to age 17 (Colorado School Attendance Law – C.R.S. 22-33-101 et seq.).

Students must attend a minimum number of hours of school in order to comply with the law. These minimum requirements are:

  • 1,056 hours in middle and high school; and
  • 968 hours in elementary school.

Below is an overview of the different types of absences.

Types of Absences

An excused absence requires approval by both the parent or guardian and the school. In some cases, documentation from the parent may be required so that the school can excuse an absence. Examples can include a note from a parent, guardian or healthcare provider.

Exceptions to the Colorado School Attendance Law

  • Temporary illness or injury
  • Enrollment in a private school
  • Physical, mental or emotional disability
  • Suspension, expulsion or denial of admission
  • Certificate to work
  • Legal custody by public agency
  • Religious holidays or observance
  • School-approved work-study program
  • Home-based instruction

Truancy is also known as an unexcused absence, which is an absence without parent or school permission.

Habitually truant is defined as four unexcused absences in one month and/or 10 unexcused absences in the school year.

Reporting Absences

Save time by letting us know that your student is going to be absent or arriving late. Starting this year, DPS families will be able to use their computers or smartphones to know about absences or late arrivals so they can focus on taking care of their children. Guardians of DPS students must have an active DPS Parent Portal account to use this new feature. Visit to sign up, or to check that your account is active and ready.  Click here for directions in English or Español to learn how to use this new feature.