Absent, Tardy, or Release of Students
Absence or Tardy Notification
Communicate an absence to the Main Office through the attendance email WestgateElem.Attendance@fcps.edu, by phone at 703-610-5757 or by using the form below. Be specific about the reason why your child will not be attending school and 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
When in the building, we will communicate quickly with parents or guardians when a student does not come to school as expected.
Attendance During Distance Learning
In Virginia, public school students ages 5-18 are required to attend school regularly. Teachers will take attendance during distance learning sessions and ensure that all students are counted. Parents can assist with this process by:
- Ensuring students log in to classes on time and throughout the day.
- Calling or emailing the school attendance line if students are unable to participate.
- Communicating any concerns to the school, such as difficulty logging in or accessing classes.
- Reporting any hardship, such as student illness, or concern that might prevent the student from participating regularly.
- Returning phone calls or emails when notified that students did not participate that day.
- Ensuring that students submit activity logs as directed.
If your child is unable to log in to online instruction with a teacher, the teacher will be recording the class and posting the video within Google Classroom, so it can be viewed later. Videos can also be viewed multiple times to help students retain new information, as needed.
We understand that not every student will be able to participate in online instruction at the scheduled time. Our schools will be flexible in recording attendance and absences. We do not want to punish a student for missing an online class due to the extenuating circumstances of virtual learning. We want to partner with our families to ensure the success of each child.
Virginia State Law
Virginia State law requires that each student who is absent from school must be reported each time by a responsible person. An excused absence is one for which parents/guardians have prior knowledge, consent, and a legitimate reason. Legitimate reasons include: illness of the student, death in the family, and observance of a religious holiday. Absences for family and student vacations are unexcused.
According to state law, the following actions need to be taken:
- 5 Unexcused days - parent notification via letter and plan required
- 6 Unexcused days - (one additional day) - conference required
- 7 Unexcused days - attendance officer involved, possible court action
Weekly attendance calls will be made to parents whose students have accrued five or more unexcused absences, requesting that parents contact the school to develop an attendance plan.
Dental and Medical
Dental and medical appointments are excused; however, we ask that such appointments be kept to a minimum during the instructional day.
Absences for family and student vacations are unexcused. Students are responsible for completing any missed assignments. Teachers will provide the student and parent or guardian with missed work, but are not obligated to provide assignments prior to family or student vacations.
Tardy Student Arrival
If your child arrives after 8:50 a.m., he/she is considered tardy. Students who are repeatedly tardy in a school year will have a letter placed in their school file. If the student continues to be tardy a meeting with the principal, counselor, student, and parent will be held to discuss the situation.
Release of Student
We will not release any child to any adult other than the parent/guardian or persons listed on the emergency care form. Students may be released to either parent unless prohibited by a court order. If restricted custody has been legally established, a parent must furnish a copy of the custody order to be kept on file in the school office.
Watch the video below in which FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand talks about the importance of attending school every day.