This Policy is under review.

410P - Student Absences, Excuses, Dismissals

Last Updated Date: 10/04/2022

Adoption Date: 02/06/1990

Revision History: 06/27/1994, 06/19/2001, 07/19/2017, 08/21/2018, 06/16/2020, 06/15/2021, 06/21/2022, 10/4/2022

Student attendance is a cooperative effort and the School Board involves parents and students in accepting the responsibility for good attendance.  Each parent/guardian or person having control or charge of a child within the compulsory attendance age is responsible for such child's regular and punctual attendance at school as required under provisions of the law.

Parents of students who are absent must inform the school of the reason for the absence no later than upon the student’s return to school. Absences are excused 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,
  • for middle and high school students, one school day per school year to engage in a civic event,
  • discipline or legal actions requiring the student not to be present,
  • five school days per academic year for participation in a 4-H educational program or activity with the principal having discretion to approve additional days; no credit will be provided for a student whose participation in a 4-H educational program or activity occurs during scheduled Standards of Learning assessments or during any period of time that the student is suspended or expelled from school; the student’s principal or assistant principal may request a representative of 4-H to provide documentation of a student’s participation in order for the student’s absence to be excused,
  • subject to guidelines established by the Virginia Department of Education, students who are members of a state- or federally-recognized tribal nation that is headquartered in Virginia shall be granted one excused absence per academic year to attend such nation’s pow wow gathering provided that the student’s parent provides the student’s school advance notice of the absence in the manner required by the school, 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.
Students who are absent by reason of observance of a religious holiday shall not be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award, or of the right to take an alternate test or examination, which the student missed by reason of such absence, if the absence is verified in an acceptable manner.  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, work-based learning or early school day release authorized by the principal.  

Students shall attend school for a full day unless excused by the principal or principal’s designee. 

High school students may spend a reasonable number of school days each academic year participating in High School to Work Partnerships established pursuant to guidelines developed by the Board of Education. Students who miss a partial or full day of school while participating in Partnership programs are not counted as absent for the purposes of calculating average daily membership. 

An attendance officer, or a division Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee when acting as an attendance officer pursuant to Va. Code § 22.1-258, may complete, sign, and file with the intake officer of the juvenile and domestic relations district court, on forms approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia, a petition for a violation of a school attendance order entered by the juvenile and domestic relations district court pursuant to Va. Code § 16.1-278.5 in response to the filing of a petition alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision as defined in Va. Code § 16.1-228.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to limit in any way the authority of any attendance officer or the division superintendent to seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance law.

  1. Compulsory Attendance Procedures 

    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 or the parent provides a reason for the absence that is unacceptable to the school administration, the school principal, principal’s designee, attendance officer or other school personnel or volunteer 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”. Early intervention with the student and parent or parents takes place for repeated unexcused absences.

    1. Upon Fifth Absence Without Parental Awareness and Support

      If (1) a pupil fails to report to school for a total of five scheduled school days for the school year, and (2) there is no indication that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the absence; and (3) reasonable efforts to notify the parent of the absences have failed, then the principal or principal’s designee shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that direct contact is made with the parent in person, through telephone conversation, or through the use of other communication devices to obtain an explanation for the pupil’s absence and to explain to the parent the consequences of continued nonattendance. The school principal or principal’s designee, the pupil, and the pupil’s parent shall jointly develop a plan to resolve the pupil’s nonattendance. Such plan shall include documentation of the reasons for the pupil’s nonattendance. 

    2. Upon Additional Absences Without Parental Awareness and Support

      If the pupil is absent for more than one 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 school principal or principal’s designee shall schedule a conference with the pupil, the pupil’s parent and school personnel. Such conference may include the attendance officer and other community service providers to resolve issues related to the pupil’s nonattendance. The conference shall be held no later than 10 school days after the tenth absence of the pupil, regardless of whether the pupil’s parent approves of the conference. The conference team shall monitor the pupil's attendance and may meet again as necessary to address concerns and plan additional interventions if attendance does not improve. In circumstances in which the parent is intentionally noncompliant with compulsory attendance requirements or the pupil is resisting parental efforts to comply with compulsory attendance requirements, the principal or principal’s designee shall make a referral to the attendance officer. The attendance officer or designee shall schedule a conference with the pupil, the pupil’s parent, and the attendance officer and/or school administrator within 10 school days and may (i) file a complaint with the juvenile and domestic relations district court alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision as defined in Va. Code § 16.1-228 or (ii) institute proceedings against the parent pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-371 or § 22.1-262. In filing a complaint against the student, the attendance officer shall provide written documentation of the efforts to comply with the provisions of this policy. In the event that both parents have been awarded joint physical custody pursuant to Va. Code § 20-124.2 and the school has received notice of such order, both parents shall be notified at the last known addresses of the parents. 

  2. Report for Suspension of Driver’s License

    In addition to any other actions taken pursuant to this policy, if a student who is under 18 years of age has 10 or more unexcused absences from school on consecutive school days, the principal may notify the attendance officer to request notification be made to the juvenile and domestic relations court, which may take action to suspend the student’s driver’s license. 

  3. Attendance Reporting

    Student attendance is monitored and reported as required by state law and regulations. At the end of each school year, each public school principal reports to the superintendent the number of pupils by grade level for whom a conference was scheduled pursuant to Part II (B) above. The superintendent compiles this information and provides it annually to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Legal Reference(s): 
Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, Section(s) 22.1-227.1, 22.1 254, 22.1-258, 22.1-260, 22.1279.3, 46.2-323 and 46.2-334.001, 54.1-3900.

8 VAC 20-730-10

8 VAC 20-730-20

Policy References: