Attendance

Attendance Expectations

Every Day Counts! Daily attendance remains compulsory for students ages 5-17, even in the virtual setting.

Attendance will be recorded based on the student activity in Canvas each school day between 6:00 am and 11:59 pm. Any activity within Canvas will automatically transfer to Aspen and translate into attendance for that day. Activity within Canvas includes logging into Canvas, clicking on the link for the day’s activities, clicking on a Teams meeting link, opening a course, or working on an assignment in ClassNotebook within Canvas.

If a student experiences a tech issue, they should call their school to have their attendance recorded for that day.

Schools will use much more than just daily attendance as an indicator of student engagement in learning, including completing assignments and participation in live classes.

Attendance for Learning at Home

At DCPS, we want every student to feel loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life. To get there, every class and every day counts. Strong attendance is critical for success in academics and in life. As all DCPS will begin the year learning from home, attendance will taken for every student, every day. It is important that:

  • Students log into Canvas each day for live and asynchronous lessons between 6:00 am and 11:59 pm. Students who do not log in to Canvas will be recorded as absent for the day. If a student experiences a tech issue, they should call their school to have their attendance recorded for that day.
  • Students are prepared with content from previous lessons.
  • If absent, students and families provide an excuse note to the school’s attendance point of contact and receive make-up assignments.

Reach out to your child’s teacher or school staff for help if there are challenges that are preventing your child completing assignments at home for accommodations.

Excused Absences

What types of absences are considered “excused” and how do I notify the school?

Any absence for an entire day without a valid excuse is marked as an unexcused absence. For learning at home, an absence is when a student does not log in to Canvas and/or call the school to indicate they completed their coursework through another mechanism, such as paper packets due to technology issues. The following absences may be classified as an excused absence:

  • Illness of the student (a doctor’s note is required for a student absent five or more cumulative days in a term);
  • Illness of a child, for parenting students (a doctor’s note for the student’s child is required when the student is absent five or more cumulative days in a term);
  • Medical or dental appointments for the student;
  • Death in the student’s immediate family;
  • Exclusion by direction of the authorities of the District of Columbia, due to quarantine, contagious disease, infection, infestation, or other condition requiring separation from other students for medical or health reasons;
  • Necessity for a student to attend a judicial or administrative proceeding, or court-ordered activity, as a party to the action or under subpoena;
  • Observance of a religious holiday;
  • Religious event celebration outside of a religious holiday (up to five cumulative days);
  • Absences to allow students to visit their parent/guardian who is in the military, immediately before, during, or after deployment;
  • College visits for students in grades 9-12 (up to three cumulative days);
  • School visits for students in kindergarten through 8th grade (one day);
  • Absences of expectant or parenting students for a time period specified by their doctor and any accommodations mandated by law;
  • Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day; and
  • An emergency or other circumstance approved by DCPS.

A written note must be provided electronically to the school by the student’s parent/guardian within five (5) school days after the student’s return to school for an absence to be excused. Upon receipt of appropriate documentation within five (5) school days, school staff must update absences as excused.

If a student is absent:

  • For a total of up to four (4) cumulative days in each term, a parent’s/guardian’s written excuse is sufficient for explaining the absence. The absence will be excused if it falls under one of the excused absence reasons noted above;
  • For five (5) or more cumulative days per term, further documentation is required to excuse the absence. Written explanation of the student’s absence must be submitted by a doctor or staff of a relevant agency, on official office/agency letterhead and signed by a relevant official. Note:
  • o Medical or dental absences must be submitted on official doctor/dentist office stationery or form.
  • o Student’s required presence at judicial or administrative proceedings must be documented by a document from the court or administrative hearing office stating the need for the student’s presence on all the relevant dates.
  • o Funeral programs may be accepted as appropriate documentation to excuse absences due to a death in the student’s immediate family.

Unexcused Absences

What happens if my child has multiple unexcused absences?

All children who reach five (5) years of age on or before September 30 of the current school year are considered school-aged and must attend school on time every day until they meet high school graduation requirements or reach their 18th birthday. Students who have multiple unexcused absences within a school year will receive the following notifications from DCPS, the school, and/or the student’s teacher. One change in 2020-2021 is that DCPS staff will not send a 3 Days of Unexcused Absence letter and instead will be completing a wellness check with families.

  • 1 Day of Unexcused Absence: Parents/guardians will be contacted by phone the day following an unexcused absence.
  • 3 Days of Unexcused Absences: Parents/guardians will receive a wellness check phone call to check in on the student.
  • 5 Days of Unexcused Absences: Parents/guardians will receive an unexcused absence letter. In addition, if the five unexcused absences have occurred within one term, the student will be referred to school staff who support attendance interventions, the Attendance Student Support Team.
  • 7 Days of Unexcused Absences: Parents/guardians will receive a Metropolitan Police Department warning letter.
  • 10 Unexcused Absences (Student is considered chronically truant):
    • For students aged 5 – 13, DCPS will contact Child Family Services (CFSA).
    • For students aged 14 and over, DCPS will refer the student for follow-up Attendance Student Support Team interventions.
    • See Grading and Promotion section for warning policies related to coursework and attendance.
  • 15 Unexcused Absences:
    • For students aged 14 – 17, DCPS will refer the student to Court Social Services Division.
    • See Grading and Promotion section for warning policies related to coursework and attendance.
    • 20 Consecutive Unexcused Absences: The student is eligible for withdrawal. (See more on in the attendance FAQ regarding eligibility for withdrawal.)

Pre-K Attendance

All children who reach five (5) years of age on or before September 30 of the current school year are considered school-aged and must attend school on time every day until they meet high school graduation requirements or reach their 18th birthday. Although Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 are non-compulsory grades, DCPS strongly believes that regular attendance is critical for students of all ages from Pre-K3 – 12th grade. Pre-K students are subject to the same requirements regarding excused and unexcused absences. One change in 2020-2021 is that DCPS staff will not send a 3 Days of Unexcused Absence letter.

  • 1 Day of Unexcused Absence: Parents/guardians will be contacted by phone the day following an unexcused absence.
  • 5 Days of Unexcused Absences: Parents/guardians will receive an unexcused absence letter. In addition, if the five unexcused absences have occurred within one term, the student will be referred to school staff who support attendance interventions, the Attendance Student Support Team. A referral may also be made to the Early Childhood Education Family Service Team.
  • 20 Consecutive Unexcused Absences: If a registered student is absent 20 days in a row without an excuse, they may be withdrawn due to non-attendance and subject to a waitlist to reenroll, even if the student is in-boundary.

Read more about attendance in the Family FAQ.