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410R-A - Attendance, Absence, and Tardiness in Grades K-5

A. Absences

The school day is the portion of the day during which school is in session. For students in grades K-5, the school arrival and dismissal times are generally 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Students are expected to be in school on time every day for which school is in session so that they may actively participate in their instructional programs.

An excessive number of absences accumulated in one school year may result in failure for the year. Parents of students who are absent must inform the school of the reason for the absence not later than upon the student’s return to school. Whenever a student fails to report to school on a regularly scheduled school day and no information has been received by school personnel that the student’s parent is aware of and supports the absence, the school principal or his/her designee notifies the parent by phone, email or other electronic means to obtain an explanation. School staff records the student’s absence for each day as “excused” or “unexcused”.

Whenever a pupil fails to report to school for a total of five (5) scheduled days for the school year and no indication has been received by school personnel that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, and a reasonable effort to notify the parent has failed, the school principal or his/her designee shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that direct contact is made with the parent, either in person or through telephone conversation to obtain an explanation for the pupil’s absence and to explain to the parent the consequences of continued non‑attendance. The school principal or his/her designee, the pupil, and the pupil’s parent shall jointly develop a plan to resolve the pupil’s non-attendance. Such plan shall include documentation of the reasons for the pupil’s non-attendance.

If the pupil is absent an additional day after direct contact with the pupil’s parent and school personnel have received no indication that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, the principal or his/her designee shall schedule a conference within ten (10) school days with the pupil, his parent, and school personnel. The conference may include other community service providers in order to resolve issues related to the pupil’s non-attendance. The conference shall be held no later than fifteen (15) school days after the sixth (6) absence.

Upon the next absence by such pupil without indication that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, the school principal or his/her designee shall notify the student support specialist or the division superintendent, as the case may be, who shall enforce the provisions of VA Code Section 22.1-258 by (a) filing a complaint with the juvenile and domestic relations court alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision as defined in Virginia Code Section 16.1-228; and/or, (b) instituting proceedings against the parent pursuant to Virginia Code Sections 18.2-371 or 22.1-262.

In filing a complaint against the student, the student support specialist shall provide written documentation of the efforts to comply with Virginia Code Section 22.1-258 and the provisions of this regulation. In the event that both parents have been awarded joint physical custody, and the school has received notice of such order, both parents shall be notified at the last known addresses of the parents. 

It is expected that parents will cooperate with the student support specialist and other school officials to remedy the student’s attendance problem. Where direct contact with a parent cannot be made, despite reasonable efforts, or where parents otherwise fail to cooperate in remedying the student’s attendance problem, the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee may seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance laws. The student support specialist, with the knowledge and approval of the Superintendent, shall institute proceedings against any parent who fails to comply with the requirements of the compulsory attendance laws. Where the complaint arises out of the parent’s failure to comply with the requirements of § 22.1-258, the student support specialist shall document the school division’s compliance with this Code section.

At the end of each school year, each school principal shall report to the division superintendent the number of pupils by grade level for whom a conference was scheduled as required by this regulation. The superintendent shall compile such grade level information for the division and provide such information to the Superintendent of Public Instruction annually.

Each school principal shall report to the division superintendent within ten days after the opening of school the name, age and grade of each student enrolled in the school, and the name and address of the student’s parent or guardian. In addition, each school principal shall report to the division superintendent, based upon known information, the name of each child subject to the provision of the compulsory school attendance law, who is not enrolled in school, and the name and address of the pupil’s parent or guardian.

From these reports, the student support specialist shall make a list of all students not enrolled in any school and not exempt from school attendance within five days after receiving a report. It shall be the duty of the student support specialist, on behalf of Frederick County Public Schools, to investigate all cases of non-enrollment and, when no valid reason is found, to notify the parent, guardian or other person having control of the child to require the attendance of such child at the school within three days from the date of such notice.

The student support specialist shall cooperate with the school principal and director of student support services to ensure compliance with compulsory attendance laws and make appropriate referrals to the juvenile and domestic relations court.


B. Excused Absences

The parent/guardian shall notify the school of the student’s absence either by telephone, electronic mail, or note. The school will maintain an accurate record of the report from the parent/guardian. The record will include the name of the person notifying the school of the absence, the date of the notice, the reported reason for the absence, and the school staff member entering the information in the log.

The school principal or designee is authorized to excuse the student’s absence. Absences will usually be considered as excused when verified by the parent or guardian as necessary and unavoidable for the following reasons:
  • student illness, 
  • death of a family member or close friend, 
  • medical or dental appointments, 
  • family emergency, 
  • religious obligations, 
  • pre-approved family trip, 
  • inclement weather, 
  • discipline or legal actions requiring the student not to be present, or 
  • any other reason authorized by the school principal. 
When the Frederick County Public Schools’ administration cancels school for some students, although school is in session, those absences will be excused. Students, who otherwise would have been eligible to receive a perfect attendance award will not be penalized for those absences. The designated school staff shall make an appropriate entry in the student’s cumulative scholastic record.

When the parent/guardian judges that weather conditions are too severe for his/her student to attend school when school is in session, the absence will be authorized as excused. However, the student will not be eligible for a perfect attendance award for that year.

Students will not be excused from attendance for the purpose of work during regularly scheduled school days, with the exception of approved co-operative education programs or early school day release authorized by the principal.


C. "Skipping"

Any student "skipping" school will be referred to the principal or his/her designee. The parent/guardian will be contacted and a school-based discipline alternative will be administered.


D. Make-Up Work

Students will be allowed to make up work when absent from school.
  • This work shall be completed within a reasonable period of time (one day for each day of absence unless a make-up plan has been arranged with the teacher). Long-term assignments must be turned in on time. Exceptions may be authorized by the school principal. 
  • Incomplete grades must be made up within fifteen school days after the quarter ends, or the grade will be changed to “F”. Exceptions may be authorized by the school principal. Reconciling incomplete grades for a final grade average will occur upon availability of school staff. 
  • If parents anticipate that their children will be out of school for more than ten days under a doctor’s order, the parents should request homebound instruction for the student through their child’s school administrator. 
  • Parents or school activity sponsors shall notify the school prior to a student’s planned absence. Students will obtain assignments and homework for each class prior to the absence. Assigned work is to be completed and submitted to the teacher on the day the student returns to class. Exceptions may be authorized by the school principal. 

E. Late Arrival/Early Release (pick-up)

Students who arrive late or leave prior to the dismissal time shall be required to sign in and out of the school office. The school principal or designee is authorized to excuse the student’s tardiness to school. Tardiness usually will be considered as excused for reasons of school bus delayed arrival and verified medical or court appointments. Excessive unexcused tardiness shall result in disciplinary action.

In addition, students must have permission to leave school during the day. Only the school nurse, an administrator or his/her designee may grant such permission.

Students who need to be excused from school during the school day must bring a parental note to the office before school. Early releases from school usually will be considered as excused for reasons of verified medical, dental, or court appointments. Students are released only on request and authorization of the parent or guardian.  Students are not released during the school day to any person not authorized by the student’s parent/guardian to assume responsibility for the student.  The burden of proof on the authority of the person to receive the student is on the requesting party.  A formal check-out system is maintained in each school.  
Early releases may also be approved for other necessary and unavoidable reasons by the school nurse or school principal or his/her designee. Excessive early releases from school may be denied. Unexcused early releases shall result in disciplinary action.

Parents of students who require medical and/or dental care are asked to schedule appointments, when possible, after the close of the school day. Students for whom these arrangements cannot be made will be expected to attend school before and/or after such appointments as time permits.

During each nine-week grading period, students with unexcused tardiness to school, or unexcused early releases from school, will be disciplined as follows:

First time: Warning

Second time: Warning with parent informed

Third time: Detention/School-based discipline with parent informed

Fourth time: Detention/School-based discipline

Students will be expected to make up work missed for tardiness and early releases. Continued tardiness and early releases may result in additional consequences.


F. Maintenance of Attendance Data

At the close of each marking period, class attendance will be transferred using procedures established by technology and information services. This information will be shown on report cards. Accurate attendance shall be taken in every class each time it meets uniform system of recording attendance/absence/tardiness is to be followed. The record is to be accurate and permanent, as required by applicable state law.


G. Notification of Policy

Attendance policies and regulations shall be included in teacher and student handbooks of each school. 



Legal References:

Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-254; 22.1-258-262; 22.1-265, 22.1-279.3 and 46.2-334.001
8 VAC 20-230-20
8 VAC 20-730-10



Approved: February 3, 1981
Amended: August 1, 1996
Amended: July 6, 1999
Amended: July 1, 2002
Amended: July 22, 2010
Amended: September 30, 2010
Amended: June 21, 2011
Amended: August 18, 2011
Amended: May 3, 2012
Amended: August 25, 2014
Amended: June 15, 2017