Copy, cut, and glue this cute sheet to the front of a manila folder. I like doing colored folders so it stands out better. Laminate the folder and you can use it year after year forever!
My students are well trained in how to put it on the desk(s) of the absent students(s). I made it yellow to really stand out. It's easy for me and anyone else, including a sub, to see who is absent. All work passed out that day gets passed into their folder.
When they return, they are responsible to look through it and ask me any questions they have before bringing the work home to complete. They then return the empty folder back where it goes. I have five of these for my classroom.