SLES Attendance Policies and Procedures
In the event of an absence or tardy please email @email, call 703-619-3636, use our online attendance form to report the absence of a student, or send handwritten notes with a student to school. Please be specific as to a physician’s diagnosis such as strep throat or pinkeye. If your child has not seen a physician, please be specific about the symptoms your child is having such as fever, cough sore throat headache, diarrhea, vomiting. This information is needed by the Public Health Nurse.
FCPS Regulation 2234 states that “regular attendance is necessary for maximum school achievement. In addition, punctuality and dependability in meeting assigned responsibilities are personal behavior habits valued in our society. To help students develop desirable behavior patterns as well as maximize their classroom learning, Fairfax County Public Schools requires that students be punctual and regular in school class attendance. Whenever attendance problems exist, appropriate school system resources shall be made available to support effective communication and intervention.” It is the responsibility of the students to verify with their teachers that their absences are excused, and it is the responsibility of the parents or guardians to excuse absences as soon as possible within three days of the absence. Also, the Student Responsibilities and Rights, Regulation 2601.22p, cites regular school attendance as one of the main student responsibilities.
Virginia State Law
Virginia requires that all children between the ages of five and eighteen be enrolled in school and attend on a daily basis. Any student who fails to report to school for a total of five scheduled school days (unexcused) for the school year may be referred to a school attendance officer for further action. When a referral is received, the school attendance officer will attempt to interview the student, parent, and other relevant parties to develop a plan to resolve the attendance issue. A student who is absent from school for 15 consecutive days (excused or unexcused) or more is withdrawn from school and must officially register again upon his or her return to school. An excused absence is one for which parents/guardians have prior knowledge, consent, and a legitimate reason. According to School Board Regulation 2234, after the fifth unexcused absence, the school is to refer the student to the attendance officer.
Parents or guardians should call the attendance line at 703-619-3636 in the morning before attendance is taken, to let the school know of any tardiness or absence.
Excused Absences, Check-ins, and Check-outs
- Acceptable Excuses – Illness, Doctor/Dentist Appointment, Religious Holiday, Pre-Arranged absence, Death in the Family, and Suspension are good examples.
- Excusing Absences – Phone calls/written notes/faxes to excuse absences are due no later than three days after the absence. Please include student’s name, teacher’s name, reason for absence, and parent contact information on all notes.
- Excusing Check-ins – Written notes are required at the time of check-in. If they are not provided, students are signed in as unexcused and have three days to bring in a note from the parents or guardian. Students who fail to check in to the office upon late arrival will not have their tardies excused.
- Excusing Checkout – Written notes are required to be sent to your child’s teacher informing them of the approximate time of checkout. Parents picking up students for a checkout must sign them out in the Office and wait there as office personnel call to dismiss students from class. If the student returns to school that same day, he or she must report to the Office and check back in before returning to class. The school is legally responsible for students during the school day and we need to know when and with whom students are leaving. Students are not to contact their parents via cell phone/text messaging. Students are to use the school landlines during the day to contact parents, and the parent must come to the Office to properly sign out the student.
- Out of Town Parents – Whenever a parent or guardian is out of town or otherwise unavailable for the school to contact (due to travel, etc.), the parent/guardian must inform the Office in advance of the name, address, phone numbers (home & work) of the adult(s) in charge of the child during the parent’s absence, who is/are authorized to excuse absences occurring during this period of time.
- Prearranged absences can include religious holidays, out of town visits, special trips, etc. Whenever a family knows in advance that their child will need to miss school, the family must request a prearranged absence form. This should be done at least a week in advance by submitting a note to the Office from the parent/guardian stating the reason for the absence and the exact dates of the absence. After tentative approval is given by the Office, the student is given a form that must be signed by all the student’s teachers reporting that the student is in good standing academically. The student must return the completed form to the Office at least one day in advance of the absence before final approval will be given. Students are expected to make up any missed work. Families can access the electronic form or pick up a hard copy of this form from the front office.
- FCPS Regulation 2234 states that “the principal or his or her designee may require a physician’s note in cases of chronic or long-term illness.” According to our truancy officer, fifteen (15) excused absences are considered “excessive” and give the school reasonable cause to ask for a doctor’s note/official documentation in order to excuse any future absences. This includes requests for travel and check-outs from the clinic.
Unexcused Absences and Tardies
- Truancy – Truancy is against state law. Per FCPS Regulation 2234, the school is required to submit an attendance referral to the Fairfax County truancy officer whenever a student accrues five unexcused absences. Truancy can result in legal action for both the student and the parent.
- Tardies – Students are considered late to class if they arrive after the bell rings.