Policy JED-RZ

Lynchburg City Schools believes that school attendance is directly related to academic achievement and to the development of good habits that are important in the work world. Optimum student attendance is a cooperative effort, and Lynchburg City Schools expects parents and students to take active roles in accepting and complying with that responsibility.

Each principal shall ensure that teachers are accountable for checking and documenting attendance daily/by period; communicating and documenting contact with a student’s parents, school counselor, and administrator; and accurately verifying regular attendance reports. At the elementary level, attendance shall be documented daily, and in the secondary schools, attendance shall be documented each class period.

A. Absences

1. Excused absences will only be granted for the following reasons:

  1. Personal illness. Written excuses should contain a description of the illness.
  2. Personal required court appearance with documentation from the court.
  3. Death or serious illness in immediate family. Principal will also consider each individual case and any extenuating circumstances.
  4. Medical condition or appointment verified by a note from a medical professional or dentist.
  5. Religious holiday will be excused upon presentation of written verification from the student’s parent/guardian. No student will be deprived of any award, eligibility, or opportunity to compete for any award, or the right to take an alternate test or examination the student missed by reason of such verified absence.
  6. Conditions beyond the control of the student, parent/guardian, or the school as approved by the school administration.

2. College visits on regularly scheduled school days should be limited to two school days per school year. These approved visits are limited to high school juniors and seniors. Parent/guardian must provide written notice to the school of a planned college visit. The two school days will be counted as excused absences.

3. Unexcused absences are those that result from the following:

  1. Any absence that does not meet the conditions of an excused absence.
  2. Absences will be unexcused if notes signed by the parent or guardian are not received by the school within two school days of the student’s return to school even if the parent or guardian has called. E-mail will be accepted for a note within two days of student’s return.
  3. Any absence that is the result of a suspension from school does not count toward truancy.

4. An approved school-sponsored event will not be counted as an absence.

5. Students who do not complete one-half of their school day will be counted as absent. Whether such absence will be deemed excused or unexcused shall be determined by the criteria set forth in this regulation.

6. Pre-planned Absences

  1. The parent/guardian must request approval in writing for pre-planned excused absence by filing a request in advance with the principal/designee. Principals will grant approval for pre-planned absences up to five days per student during the school year. Students are expected to make up missed work. Such requests will be signed and filed by the principal/designee. Planned absences of this nature are highly discouraged as they could adversely affect student performance.
  2. If approval for more than five days is sought, a request must be filed with the Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee. If approved, these absences would be excused. Students are expected to make up missed work. Planned absences of this nature are highly discouraged as they could adversely affect student performance.

7. Procedures for documenting a student’s absence by a parent or guardian

  1. Upon a student’s return to school, the student shall bring a note signed by the parent/guardian to explain the reasons for the absence and the dates of the absence. The school should receive the note on the day of the student’s return to school. E-mail will be accepted for a note.
  2. Absences will be unexcused if notes are not received by the school within two school days of the student’s return to school even if the parent has called.

8. Make-up Work

  1. It is the responsibility of the middle school or high school student to see the teacher on the day he or she returns to school to receive assignments and schedule make-up work at the teacher’s convenience. Elementary school teachers will provide assignments upon the student’s return to school.
  2. All work must be completed within three school days from return to school or as agreed upon with the teacher/principal.
  3. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to complete make-up work regardless of the reason for the absence, a parent may request assignments. The assignments should be available at the end of the school day following that request depending upon teacher availability.

9. When a pupil has been absent for 15 consecutive days or more, they will be dropped from the attendance rolls in accordance with Administrative Code 8VAC20-110-130.

B. Tardiness or Early Dismissal

1. In all cases of tardiness to school or early dismissals, students must present that day a written note from a parent/guardian to the school stating the reason for the tardiness or early dismissal. Excused tardies/early dismissals are granted only for the following reasons:

  1. Personal illness. Written excuses should contain a description of the illness.
  2. Personal required court appearance with documentation from the court.
  3. Death or serious illness in immediate family. Principal will also consider each individual case and any extenuating circumstances.
  4. Medical condition or appointment verified by a note from a medical professional or dentist.
  5. Religious holiday will be excused upon presentation of written verification from the student’s parent/guardian. No student will be deprived of any award, eligibility, or opportunity to compete for any award, or the right to take an alternate test or examination the student missed by reason of such verified absence.
  6. Conditions beyond the control of the student, parent/guardian, or the school as approved by the school administration.

2. When tardy, the student must go to the school office to obtain a pass to class.

3. Students who arrive late or leave early are missing instructional time. When possible, appointments need to be scheduled so that they do not conflict with school hours. Students who do not complete one-half of their school day will be counted as absent. Whether such absence will be deemed excused or unexcused shall be determined by the criteria set forth in this regulation.

C. Truancy – Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, and High Schools

Regular prompt attendance is required for students to make academic progress. Students must have academic credit to graduate. (Refer to School Board Policy 7-28 regarding requirements for graduation.)

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, 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”.

Regulations governing the attendance policy are as follows:

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 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 his 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 shall schedule a conference with the pupil and pupil’s parent 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.

D. Policy Distribution

All schools will distribute a copy of the attendance policy and regulation to each student within the first few days of school and/or through newsletters to parents. The policy will be discussed in classrooms with students.

E. Appeals

Appeals concerning the application of this policy will be directed to the school principal/designee. Further appeals may be initiated through the Department of Student Services.

Approved by School Board: July 15, 1980
Revised by School Board: June 1, 1993
Revised by School Board: July 1, 1997
Revised by School Board: August 10, 1999
Revised by School Board: August 7, 2007
Revised by School Board: July 8, 2008
Revised by School Board: August 7, 2012
Revised by School Board: October 1, 2012
Revised by School Board: August 20, 2013
Revised by School Board: July 10, 2018

Legal Refs.:

Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-253.13:7, 22.1-254, 22.1-258, 22.1-260, 22.1-261, 22.1-262, 22.1-263.