One of the worst questions we can be asked as teachers is, "Did we do anything important while I was gone?" At some point in our career, we have all heard this question from a student who missed a day of class. In order to make life a little easier, I created a form that I fill out for each student who is absent. It takes about 5 minutes out of my planning period, but saves me the headache of repeating the same thing to each student who was not in class.
All you need to do is use this template to inform students of what happened during their absence. The form tells them what work they need to turn in, what was covered in class, notes that they need to get from a friend or class website, the homework for that evening, and any other announcements that they might have missed.
Once the form is filled out, staple any handouts or notes that were missed and the student has a complete packet of everything they need to get caught up. I created a bin at the front of my room specifically for this work, and it is located right next to the bin in which they turn in homework activities. After the first couple of weeks of class, my students know not to ask me what they missed when they were absent, they just have to look in the absent work bin and all of the information is already recorded for them!