• Answers to Questions about Chronic Absenteeism 

    Addressing chronic absenteeism and promoting student attendance is an important issue for LCPS. Below are some questions and answers about chronic absenteeism and how it impacts learning. 

    What is chronic absenteeism?
    Chronic absenteeism is when a student misses 10 percent or more of school. For example, if by the end of the first quarter, which is typically about 40 days long, a student has missed 4 days of school, that student has been chronically absent from school. If your student misses just two days of school per month, by the end of the school year, they will have been chronically absent from school. 

    What types of absences count toward chronic absenteeism?
    Both excused and unexcused absences count toward chronic absenteeism. If a student misses 18 days or more of school due to the reasons listed below, that absence will count toward chronic absenteeism.

    • Medically-related all-day absences, including sick days and mental health days

    • Family emergencies or events, including family crises or transportation issues and funerals

    • Family trips or vacations

    • College visits

    • Absences related to military family deployment

    • Religious holiday absences

    • Suspension from school 

    • Substance abuse-related absences

    • Unexcused absences (truancy or skipping school)

    What types of absences do not count toward chronic absenteeism?

    • Partial day absence for a doctor's appointment, specialist visit or other reason

    • School-sponsored field trip or activity

    • School-sponsored seminars 

    • Students receiving homebound services

    • Post-graduate absences (days of the school year after graduation has occurred for seniors only)

    Are student absences for family trips permitted?
    Per the revisions to Policy 8140, family trips are no longer considered excused absences unless the trip is due to a family emergency or observation of a religious holiday. Parents/guardians are advised to schedule such trips during school holidays. Parents are also advised to be aware that if a student is absent from school for 15 consecutive days, the student must be removed from the attendance rolls. In order to return to school following an absence of 15 days or more, students must be re-enrolled and assigned to a classroom as determined by the principal or principal’s designee.

    What is accreditation and how does attendance affect accreditation? 
    Accreditation is a verification that a school’s students will be prepared for the next step in their education or life plan. For high schools, accreditation assures employers and colleges/universities that the school’s graduates are prepared for the next step in their academic or work careers. Attendance is one of the factors by which the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) accredits schools. There are three levels of accreditation based on attendance: 

    • Level 1 – At this level, 0-15 percent of students are missing 18 or more days. No action plan is needed, but schools are advised to engage with students and their families who risk being in the chronically absent category. 

    • Level 2 – At this level, 16-24 percent of students are missing 18 or more days. For schools at this level, school divisions are required to develop an action plan to support the school.

    • Level 3 – At this level, 25 percent of students are missing 18 or more days, and a corrective action plan overseen by the VDOE is put in place. 

    • Accreditation Denied: If a school fails to adopt and implement a school division or VDOE corrective action plans that yield results, school accreditation is denied.

    What happens if my student is chronically absent from school?
    If your student is identified as being at risk of chronic absenteeism, school staff will be in touch to talk about ways to get your student back on track. We hope you see the teachers, administrators and United Mental Health Team members at your student’s school as resources to support you and your student’s school attendance. 

Last Modified on November 27, 2023