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MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS: New policy addresses student absences related to mental and behavioral health 

Beginning in January 2022, Senate Bill 1577 amended the Illinois School Code to reflect that the mental or behavioral health of a student is a “valid cause” for absence from school.

Therefore, parents/guardians may keep a student from school for up to five mental health absences with no need to provide a medical note. If reported to the school as mental health absences, the absences will be excused, and the student will be able to make up missed schoolwork. 

Mental health absences can indicate a student needs additional support at school. If a student takes two or more during the school year, the school will contact their parents/guardians to conduct an emotional wellness check and determine if the student requires additional mental health support at school.