Attendance Policies

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 two 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.

  • Family /Unique Experience Trips: SLHS will excuse up to 5 days of prearranged absences in a school year. A trip, or combination of trips, that exceed 5 days will be listed as prearranged unexcused. Trips include college visits, family vacations, competitions for teams outside of SLHS, etc. NOTE: See below for more about prearranged absences.
  • 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) 715-4545 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.

  • Excused tardy to school - Written notes, proof of doctor appointment or phone calls form parent/guardian are required to excuse a tardy. Students checking in late excused must report to the subschool office to get a pass 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.
  • Unexcused tardy – students who arrive late in the morning (8:10-9:00AM) will check in at the table at door #1 or #4 to get a pass. Students who are habitually late will receive consequences.  Students who arrive after 9:00AM will report to their grade level subschool to check-in and receive a pass.
  • Excusing Check-outs - Written notes are required to be brought to the grade level subschool office before school starts. A pass will be given to the student stating the time the student is to be released from class. Students must show their pass to the teacher at the beginning of class. Parents and students should make arrangements for where to meet (door #1 or #4).
    • If the student returns to school that same day, he or she must report to the grade level subschool and check back in before returning to class. Students who fail to check out will not have their absence excused. NOTE: parents/guardians who show up to pick up a child without having given prior notice should expect to wait. We do not call classrooms nor do we make announcements for students to report to the office. Security staff will get the student out of class and the student will need to check out in the subschool before leaving.


  • Parents Going Out of Town - Whenever a parent or guardian is out of town or otherwise unavailable for the school to contact (e.g. due to travel, etc.), the parent/guardian must inform the subschool administrator in writing 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

  • Prearranged 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 one week in advance by submitting a note to the grade level 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 administrator, 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 grade level 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 a violation of 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 - Students are considered late to class when not in the classroom when the bell rings.
  • Attendance Fraud - to include misrepresentation in written or oral form will be subject to disciplinary action.


  • Disciplinary Consequences
    • Assigned lunch or after school detention, Friday evening 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 Director of Student Activities or her designee.

Attendance and Referral Guide

Unexcused Tardies

Number of Unexcused Tardies Required Actions
1-2 tardies in one class)

- Conference with student

3rd tardy in one class

- Parent notification

- Teacher Assigned Detention (45 mins minimum)

5th cumulative tardy

- Referral to DOS

- Admin assigns detention (lunch, after school)

7-8 cumulative tardies

- AP Assigns Friday School and potential exclusion from school events

*** “Cumulative” refers to tardies in all classes combined***

Tardy counts reset each quarter.

Full Day Unexcused Absences 

Level Required Actions
1st Unexcused Absence    - Parent Notification
3rd Unexcused Absence

- Parent Notification

- Administrative Detention (Wednesday Detention - 3:00-4:30)

5th Unexcused Absence

- Referrals Made to Administrative Staff

- Friday Detention/AIA (3:00-5:00PM)

Continued absences will be dealt with at the administrative level to include interventions

6th Unexcused Absence & beyond

-Truancy Officer involvement

-Continued school consequences

-School intervention (e.g. attendance circles)

*** 5 full-day unexcused absences will result in a referral to the truancy officer***