Attendance Procedures and Policies

Procedures and policies regarding student attendance

Reporting Attendance

Attendance Office Staff

Procedures and Policies


Virginia State Law requires students to attend school until age 18.  James Madison High School students are expected to be in every class on time every day. 

Reporting Virtual Learning Absence:

  • Parents should report their student’s absences to school any day students are unable to participate in learning, including on Mondays.
  • Report absences by calling the school attendance line at 703-319-2319, para español oprima tres, or emailing the school-designated attendance address

Email and Telephone Messages must include the following information: 

  • Student first name and last name
  • Reason for absence - Please be specific about the reason why your child will not be attending school.  Some examples might be
    • Feeling feverish or having 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
  • Parent/Guardian name
  • Relationship to student
  • Daytime telephone or mobile (cell) phone number
  • COVID-19 related absences- If a student has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is required to quarantine due to exposure, that needs to be reported to the school when the parent calls to excused the absence.
  • Parents must contact the school within five days to excuse an absence. Students whose parent/guardian does not call or send in a note receive an unexcused (UNX) absence.


Pre-Arranged or Extended Absences:

  • COVID-19 Extended Absence: If a student cannot attend virtual class due to unforeseen circumstances in the home environment, an excused absence can be arranged for up to five school days. This arrangement must be approved by the student's Assistant Principal, prior to the absence occurring. To find out who your child's Administrator is, check our Administration Page
  • Pre-Arranged Absences (vacations, etc.) require five days written notice. Students should submit form se289 to the Attendance Office. Please include the student's name, dates of absences, and reason for the absence. 
  • Extended Absences: If a student requires long-term medical care, parents should contact their child's school counselor. To find out who your child's counselor is, check the Student Services staff list.

Civic Engagement 

FCPS students from grades 7-12 are eligible to request one partial school day absence per school year for civic engagement activities. Students must attend part of the school day on the day of their civic engagement activity.   Examples of such requests might include:

  • Supporting the election process, such as voter registration, campaign distributions
  • Participating in a walk or march to raise awareness about an issue
  • Participating in community service projects 

Procedures:   Parents/guardians are asked to complete the following steps:

  • Complete a Prearranged Absence form, SSSE-289 requesting the partial day absence. ​​​​Submit the request at least two school days in advance 
  • Provide supporting documentation, including sponsoring organization and schedule
  • Plan for student transportation and safety

Testing schedules and make-up policies for national exams, such as  Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB), are not established by FCPS. Students who are scheduled to take a nationally administered exam on a day they wish to participate in a civic engagement activity should consult with their teacher or school counselor to understand if the organization that administers the exam will allow for a rescheduled test date.  

image representing chronic absenteeism

Chronic Absenteeism:

  • Students who attend 90% or more of the school year are more likely to graduate from high school on time. Parents/guardians will receive communication when a student is chronically absent more than 10%. Chronic absences include excused and unexcused full-day absences.
  • When a student accrues 20 full-day absences, excused or unexcused, parents must provide a doctor's note for future absences of more than three days, indicating that your child has been evaluated and/or treated for a specific medial concern.
  • If a student accumulates 7 or more unexcused all-day absences, the school will initiate a conference with the School Attendance Officer to develop a plan for addressing attendance concerns.

Make-Up Policy for All Absences:

  • Students are expected to make-up assignments in a timely manner. For example, if a student is out for one day, they will have one day to make-up the assignment. If a student is absent two days in a row, they have two class periods to make up the work.
  • Students should coordinate missing assignments directly with their teachers. Please refer to course syllabi and/or the course Blackboard/Google site for assignment due dates and details.