• Attendance icon Strong attendance has a proven impact on school success. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects and ninth-graders dropping out of high school. The school social work team partners with each school to promote good attendance and assists families in addressing challenges to getting their children to school.

    Should truancy become a concern, the school social worker will ensure compliance with VA Compulsory School Attendance Statutes including attendance meetings with parents, filing civil petitions, criminal complaints, and/or violations of court orders.

New Attendance Regulations

  • Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, Winchester Public Schools will be implementing new attendance regulations to further help students be successful in school. Research has confirmed the impact of missing school on a child’s academic growth. Even missing two days a month can result in a child lagging behind his/her peers. The Virginia Department of Education has also recognized the importance of school attendance and has added attendance measures to the accreditation status of your child’s school. The goal of these new regulations is to create a culture that emphasizes the importance of attendance. Below are more details outlining our new student attendance regulations. If you need additional information or assistance, please reach out to your school administrator. We are here to support your child and your family in developing a strong culture that values school attendance.

    Student Absence Procedure

    When a student misses an entire day of school, the school staff shall record the student's absence for each day as "Excused” or "Unexcused." This year, there will be two types of unexcused absences: Absent Locally Defined and Absent Truancy. The chart below outlines the procedure for addressing student absences.

Absences and Consequences
Absent Excused (AEX) Absent Locally Defined (AUX) Absent Truancy (ATY)

Reason provided by the parent/guardian is acceptable to the school administration.

  • Funeral
  • Illness or Injury (including mental health and substance use illnesses)
  • Legal obligations
  • Suspensions
  • Religious observances
  • Military obligation
  • College Visits (2 days per school year)

Parent/guardian knows and supports the whereabouts of the student, but the administration or local policy still deems the absence unexcused.

  • Vacations / Family trips
  • Employment
  • Transportation
    • Vehicle maintenance
    • Missed the bus
  • Student acting as a caretaker or interpreter

The student's whereabouts are unknown and not supported by the parent/guardian.

  • At the 5th unexcused absence, a contact will be attempted by the school to arrange a meeting or phone conference in order to determine if there will be further challenges to getting to school and steps we can make together to reduce further unexcused absences.

    Pointing hand Note: If you plan to take an out of town trip or a college visit, please consider the following:

    Frequency. Is this absence a rare treat, or a regular event? 

    Length. How long will your child be out of school? A few days may be reasonable for some children, but for others, the loss of those same days could set them up for long-term academic struggle.

    Ability. Will your child be overwhelmed by the missed instruction or collaboration with classmates? Does your child tend to get anxious or upset by situations like this? Take her temperament and ability into account.

    Grade. Missing three days during first grade is not the same thing as missing three days during junior year of high school. Additionally, if your child is on a block schedule, those three days could easily equal an entire week or more of a semester schedule.

    For more information about chronic absences, available resources, and what action you can take to help prevent chronic absence, visit the Attendance Works website.