Attendance Matters and Absence Reporting

SafeArrival Absence Reporting System

In December 2021, a pilot project with 5 schools in AMDSB began to trial a new SafeArrival absence reporting system. The schools include: Elma Township Public School, Maitland River Elementary School, Goderich Public School, Avon Public School and Mitchell District High School. All other schools will continue with their usual process until further notice.
With this new system, parents/guardians are asked to report their child’s absence in advance using any of these 3 convenient methods:
  1. Use the SchoolMessenger (SafeArrival) website: The first time you use the website: 
    • Select “Sign Up” to create your account. **Important: You must use the email address that you provided to the school in order to set up your account. 
    • Select “Attendance” 
    • Select “Report an Absence”
  2. Use the SchoolMessenger app (download from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store). Once you download the app:
    • Tap Sign Up to create your account. **Important: You must use the email address that you provided to the school in order to set up your account. 
    • Select Attendance from the menu, and then
    • Select Report an Absence.
    • Please do not adjust the notification settings in the app as it will impact the other messages you receive from the school via text and email.
  3. Call the toll-free number 1-844-518-5459 to report an absence using the automated phone system.
These options are available 24 hours/day, 7 days a week. Future absences can be reported at any time. 

In addition, these pilot schools are using the SchoolMessenger Communicate automated notification system to contact parents/guardians whose child is absent when the absence was not reported in advance. The automated notification system attempts to contact parents/guardians at multiple contact points until a reason is submitted for the absence. If our system is unable to reach the designated contacts, school office staff will follow up. 
If you report your child’s absence in advance using the SafeArrival website, app, or toll-free number, you will NOT receive these notifications.

The Importance of Attendance

Help Your Child Succeed in School

Build the Habit of Good Attendance Early – School success goes hand-in-hand with good attendance!

When do Absences Become a Problem

  • Chronic Absence: 19 or more days
  • Warning Signs: 10 to 17 Days
  • Satisfactory: 9 or Fewer Absences


Did You Know?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good attendance will help children do well in high school and beyond.

What Can You Do?

  • Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunization.
  • Practice walking to and visiting the school to develop familiarity with the setting.
  • Keep your child home if they’re truly sick.
  • Children who may be responding to feelings of stress or anxiety may complain of stomach aches or headaches. Encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling, and monitor their feelings in times of increased stress.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to school staff or other parents for advice on how to make them feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbour, or another parent.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.