Regular school attendance is vital to academic success. When students are absent, they miss valuable information and lessons necessary to meet world-class standards. A student’s lack of attendance can affect academic, social, and emotional growth. Families, schools and communities must work as a team to support school attendance.
Is school attendance required?
Yes, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Compulsory Attendance Law, Code of Virginia 22.1-258 requires that all children between the ages of five and eighteen be enrolled in school. Students must attend school on a daily basis.
What is the role of the parent?
Parents are held accountable for students who do not attend school regularly and on time. Code of Virginia, 22. 1-262, requires that the parent or guardian comply with the law and participate in the development of the plan to resolve a student’s non-attendance.
What types of absences may be excused?
FCPS will excuse a student’s tardiness or absence due to:
Illness of the student (a physician’s note may be required in case of chronic or long-term illness).
Death in the family.
Necessity of the student to attend legal proceedings.
Observance of religious holidays.
Other absences approved in advance by the principal upon written request of the parent.
Please note: extended family vacations are not excused absences.
What types of absences may not be excused?
Absence or tardiness for the following reasons may not be unexcused:
· Family trip.
· Child care problem.
· Non-school-related activity.
· Missed Bus.
What are the procedures when my child is absent?
Parents should notify the child’s teacher and school attendance line (703-326-3535) when absences can be anticipated.
For unanticipated absences, the school should be notified on the day of the absences by 9:30 a.m. by calling 703-326-3535. When calling, state the child’s name, teacher, and specific information regarding the reason for the absence. If the child is ill, and has seen a physician, be specific about your child’s condition (strep throat, pink eye, etc). If the child is ill, but has not seen a physician, be specific about your child’s symptoms (fever, couch, headache, vomiting, etc).
What happens if my child has 5 or more unexcused absences?
Any student who has five unexcused absences will be referred to a school counselor for further action. You will be contacted by a counselor or the main office to develop a plan to improve attendance.
What happens if my child has 10 or more excused absences, late arrivals, or early departures?
Any student who has 10 or more excused absences, late arrivals, or early departures may be referred to a school attendance officer for further action and may be required to provide documentation for absences.
Who is the attendance officer and what is their role?
The attendance officer is an FCPS employee who works with FCPS and the Fairfax County Court System. When the attendance officer receives a referral, the attendance officer will contact the family and interview the student and parent to develop a plan to resolve the attendance issue. If truancy continues, the school attendance officer will file a complaint with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
What if my child is late to school or picked up early?
All students who enter the building or classroom after 8:50 a.m. are tardy. All children arriving after 8:50 a.m. must be escorted to the main office with a parent/guardian. The parent/guardian must sign the child in. The reason for the tardy will be documented by the parent.
Parents picking up students early will report to the main office and sign the student out using the computer system.
Tardies and early pick-ups are recorded in our student information system and tracked by school administration. School counselors will contact parents and begin documentation after 5 tardies or early pick-ups to develop a plan to improve attendance.
What are the consequences of poor school attendance (absences, tardies, and early pick-ups)?
Poor school attendance may result in:
· Poor work habits
· Lower grades/loss of credit
· Frustration in learning
· Dropping out of school
· Lower self-esteem
· Lack of self-discipline
· Unsupervised activities
· Reduced earning potential
· Future unemployment
What can parents do?
Parents can help improve student attendance in the following ways:
· Let your child know that school is important.
· Set a regular bedtime schedule. Age should not be a factor.
· Provide your child with plenty of time to get ready for school.
· Plan an alternate way for your child to get to school on time, just in case the usual method isn't available.
· Schedule medical, dental and other appointments before and after school hours whenever possible.
· Schedule family trips during scheduled school vacations.