Attendance Procedures

Procedures and policies regarding student attendance

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.

Details to include in Message

  • Be specific about the reason why your child will not be attending school today
  • Please indicate whether your child has any of the following symptoms:
    • Feeling feverish or chills
    • Fever greater than or equal to 100.4 F
    • Headache (not due to another health condition, hunger, menstrual cramps stress, or injury)
    • A new cough (not due to another health condition)
    • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties (not due to diagnosed respiratory condition or if different than normal pattern of chronic condition)
    • A new sore throat (not due to another health condition)
    • Congestion or runny nose (not related to allergies or health condition)
    • Fatigue (more tired than normal or sudden onset)
    • New muscle pain (not due to another health condition or that may have been caused by a specific activity such as physical exercise))
    • New loss of taste, smell, or appetite
    • Abdominal pain (not due to hunger, constipation, injury, or stress)
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

FCPS staff will be responsible for contacting those parents/guardians who have not provided information as to why their student is absent. FCPS staff will also provide the school health team with information regarding any student that has remained home due to the above COVID like illness symptoms.

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 703-718-7000 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; 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. Students checking in more than 20 minutes late, whether excused or unexcused, must report to the Main Office first, before going anywhere, even if they arrive during lunch or in between periods. Students who fail to check in will not have their absence excused.

Excusing Check-outs

  • Written notes are required to be brought to the Main 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 Main Office. At the Main 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 Main Office. If the student returns to school that same day, he or she must report to the Main 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 Main Office. When a parent or guardian arrives at the Main 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 Main 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, 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 Main Office from the parent/guardian stating the reason for the absence and the exact dates of the absence. 

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.
    • 5-day letter: In accordance with FCPS policy, families will receive a letter upon 5 absences requesting that parents/guardians contact the school to make a plan to support attendance. 
    • 10-day letter: Also in accordance with FCPS policy, families will receive a call upon 10 absences requesting a family partnership conference. 

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. Failure to do so will result in unexcused absences and disciplinary action.


  • 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.


  • Students are considered late to class if they arrive within the first 20 minutes of class; thereafter, they are to be marked absent.

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

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.