Attendance Policies & Referral Guide

AHS policies and referral chart for unexcused tardies and absences

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. When attendance problems develop, the school system’s resources are made available to aid in solutions to these problems.” It is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to excuse absences within three days.

    Excused Absences, Check-ins, and Check-outs

    • Acceptable Excuses - Illness, Doctor/Dentist Appointment, Religious Holiday, Death in the Family, Suspension, College Visit

    • Unacceptable Excuses - Family trips and vacations will not be excused. Other unacceptable excuses include: Babysitting, Car trouble, Power outage, Someone in your parking space, Traffic, Brother or sister is late, Missing the bus, Oversleeping, Truancy, Class cutting.

    • Excusing Absences - A parent/guardian must submit written notes or phone the Attendance Office to excuse absences no later than three days after the absence. Call (703) 642-4151 between 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM; or you can leave a message. Please identify the student’s complete name and grade level, your name, work and home phone numbers on all notes and phone messages. All notes/phone calls received after three days will be referred to the Dean of Students.

    • Excusing Check-ins - Written notes are required at the time of check-in. If not, students will be signed in as unexcused and have three days to bring in a note from a parent or guardian.

    • Excusing Check-outs - Written notes are required to be brought to the Attendance Office before school starts. A pass will be given to the student stating the time the student is to be released from class to go to the Attendance Office. At the Attendance Office, the student will be issued a checkout pass which is kept by the student. Parents picking up students for a checkout must sign them out in the Attendance Office. If the student returns to school that same day, he or she must report to the Attendance Office and check back in before returning to class. Students who fail to check out will not have their absence excused. 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 during school hours. Students needing to contact their parent/guardian are to use the phone in the clinic or the Attendance Office When a parent or guardian arrives at the Attendance Office to check out their student, they must provide photo identification.

    • 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 Attendance Office in advance of the name, address, phone numbers (home & work) of the adult in charge of the child during the parent’s absence, who is authorized to excuse absences occurring during this period of time.

    Prearranged Absences

    • Pre-arranged absences can include religious holidays, out of town visits, college visits, etc. Whenever a student knows in advance that he/she will need to miss a day of school, the student must request a pre-arranged absence form. This should be done at least three school days in advance by submitting a note to the Attendance Office from the parent/guardian stating the reason for the absence and the exact dates of the absence along with a photocopy of travel itinerary and/or tickets indicating the dates of travel. After tentative approval is given by the Attendance Office, the student is given a form that must be signed by all of his/her teachers. The student must return the completed form to the Attendance 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.

    Excessive Absences

    • 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.” Five (5) consecutive and/or twelve (12) cumulative absences are considered “excessive.” A doctor’s note/official documentation is required to excuse any future absences. Any future absences without proper documentation will become unexcused. This includes check-outs from the clinic.

    Unexcused Absences and Tardies

    • Academic Credit - Grading is based on work performance and class participation. If a student is absent unexcused, no credit can be earned for those assignments.

    • Skip Days - "Skip days" are prohibited and are unexcused absences.

    • Leaving School Grounds - All Fairfax County Schools have a closed campus policy, which means that every student must remain on the school grounds during the school day- including lunch - unless proper checkout procedures are followed. This includes going to your car to get an item you forgot in the morning. Failure to do so will result in unexcused absences and disciplinary action.

    • 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 - If a student is late to class they will be marked Unexcused Tardy or Excused Tardy.  If student has an Excused Tardy, please report to the attendance office for a pass to class.

    • Attendance Fraud - to include misrepresentation in written or oral form will be subject to disciplinary action.

    • Disciplinary Consequences

      • Assigned afterschool detention, Saturday detention or alternative detention.

      • Revoked school parking privilege.

      • Assigned community service.

      • Exclusion from extracurricular activities and school trip privileges.

      • Assigned remediation or enrichment.

      • Formal Attendance Referral submitted to the Attendance Officer for further action and possible Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court sanctions.

    Extra-Curricular Activity Eligibility 

    • Students must be in school the entire day to be eligible to participate in any student activity scheduled on that day. Exceptions to this standard may be made with the prior approval of the principal or her/his designee.

    Attendance and Referral Guide

    Unexcused Tardies

    Number of Unexcused Tardies Intervention Disciplinary Action
    1-2   Teacher counsels student Teacher contacts parent
    3 Teacher contacts parent Teacher assigns detention. Teacher-based intervention
    4 Teacher writes referral to DOS listing actions already taken Dean of Students (DOS) goes over attendance policy and  assigns Lunch detention, records in SIS
    5 Referral to DOS DOS assigns After School detention
    6 +  Referral Assistant Principal Teacher writes referral to AP; AP assigns Saturday School/up to 30 days exclusion from school activities and events

    Attendance Procedures 2017/18

    Absence Response Plan

    5 UNX

    • FCPS will send out KIT message
    • AHS will send letter (Administrative Assistants and Assistant Principals)
    • Incoming parent calls as response to outreach directed to SOSA

    6 UNX

    • Meeting held with student, parent, counselor, AP
    • *Other (Clinical) staff may be invited as needed

    7 UNX

    • Attendance Intervention Specialist meets with students
    • Attendance Referral Completed (AAs/APS)

    Other Absentee Interventions

    12 days EXC/PRE

    AHS will send Excessive Absence Letter (SOSA will generate list)

    10% SYTD absences

    Chronic Absenteeism is categorized as missing 10% of the year. AHS will send the Chronic Absenteeism letter to families (SOSA will generate list)


    Class cuts/skips are handled as a discipline referral to student’s AP.


    Tardy Response Plan

    1-2 UNT/class

    Teacher counsels student, contacts parent


    3 UNT

    Teacher contacts parent, assigns detention


    4 UNT

    DOS assigns lunch detention


    5 UNT

    DOS assigns after school detention


    6+ UNT

    AP assigns Saturday School/up to 30 days exclusion from school activities and events