Short-term Independent Study

In some cases, parents know in advanced that their students must be absent for 5 or more consecutive school days.  This may be due to:

  • Injury or illness.

  • COVID-19 quarantine.

  • Recovery from surgery.

  • Doctor’s order to stay home.

  • Planned trips out of town.

  • Last-minute emergency trips out of town.


Students can easily become excessively absent during these situations.  A short-term Independent Study agreement allows students in such cases to be absent for 5 to 15 consecutive school days without this time counting as absences, provided that the student completes assigned school work.

A student’s time away on short-term Independent Study counts as time present in school, and does not contribute to the student’s absence rate.  However, the student must complete assigned school work.

Below is an overview of what typically happens while a student is placed on a short-term Independent Study agreement.

Parent/guardian requests agreement

  • Plan to have your student be absent at least 5 consecutive days.

  • Make your request through the Attendance Office.

  • Parents/guardians must initiate short-term Independent Study agreements, by phone or in person.

  • Students may not initiate short-term Independent Study by themselves.

  • The Attendance Office staff will advise you if short-term Independent Study is appropriate in your student’s case.  Not all requests are granted.

  • Your signature on this agreement is required, which you may provide by phone (without physically coming to the office).

  • In cases of COVID-19 quarantine, your student may begin short-term Independent Study on the same day that you sign the agreement – sign by phone or in person.

  • In all other situations, your student may begin short-term Independent Study no sooner than the day after you sign the agreement by phone or in person.

To maximize the benefits of short-term Independent Study, please make your request with the Attendance Office at least one day prior to your student’s planned time away from school.  Earlier requests are preferred.

Begin your request for short-term Independent Study by directly contacting the Attendance Coordinator directly at (619-628-5864) or visit the attendance office in person.

Next, student completes teachers’ assignments

Teachers will typically provide course work through their normal means (Google Classroom, Jupiter Grades, etc.).  Teachers normally assign the same work given to all students in class.  If teachers need to send paper assignments home to a student, the Attendance Coordinator can assist.  Students must regularly check these normal platforms where their teachers post assignments.  Students must communicate with teachers via email and messaging platforms like Jupiter Grades to request work if needed, or if assistance on assignments is needed.

Submitting assignments to teachers

Students should turn in any assignments completed during their time on short-term Independent Study to their teachers.  Depending on the nature of these assignment, some students make their work submissions online all at once, while other students turn in a little at a time while away.  There are some students who return to school and submit their work on paper.

Sharing work with Attendance Office

Aside from submitting work to teachers, students must also share samples of completed work with us in the Attendance Office.  The Attendance Coordinator needs evidence of school work being completed in order to clear student absences from time away on short-term Independent Study.

Most students submit work to the Attendance Coordinator via Google Classroom, Jupiter Grades or district email.  Once a student begins short-term Independent Study, the attendance Coordinator invites the student to join an Independent Study Google Classroom.  The exact manner that students submit work to the Attendance Coordinator depends on the student and nature of the assignments.  Some students submit a little at a time electronically, while others submit their work all at once – electronically or on paper upon returning to school.

The Attendance Office will clear absences occurring within the time frame of the short-term Independent Study agreement – once the student has returned to school and work samples have been collected.

These cleared absences count as days present in school on the student’s attendance record – instead of counting as absent days.  Thus, the cleared absences do not contribute to the individual student’s absence total.

This agreement is temporary

Short-term Independent Study is a temporary agreement made between the parent/guardian, the student, the student’s own teachers, the school, and the MVH Attendance Office.   These agreements typically last between 5 and 15 consecutive school days.  Once the short-term Independent Study agreement has expired, the student returns to class and attends as normal.


Short-term Independent Study is not “virtual learning” or an “online school,”  where the student receives direct instruction from teachers virtually.

A short-term Independent Study agreement is not “home schooling” or an alternative placement that allows students to earn graduation credits from home, in place of attending school in person.

Classes at Mar Vista High School are meant to be taken in person.  Short-term Independent Study is not a long-term alternative to attending to school in person.