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New regulations to govern the collection and reporting of ...
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8VAC20-730

CHAPTER 730
REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE COLLECTION AND REPORTING OF TRUANCY-RELATED DATA AND STUDENT ATTENDANCE POLICIES

8VAC20-730-10

8VAC20-730-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Attendance conference" means a face-to-face meeting,or an interaction that is conducted through the use of communication technology ], at a minimum, after the sixth unexcused absence among school staff, parents, and student (if appropriate). The conference may include, if necessary, community representatives to discuss the current attendance plan and make modifications to support regular school attendance participate in resolving issues related to nonattendance and revisions to the current attendance plan if necessary.

"Attendance plan" means action steps a plan developed jointly by a school representative, such as a school principal or his designee or attendance officer; parent,; and student (if appropriate) to resolve the student's nonattendance and engage the student in regular school attendance. The plan shall identify reasons for nonattendance and academic, social, emotional, and familial barriers that impede daily attendance along with positive strategies to address such reasons and impedances and support regular attendance. This plan may include school-based activities or suggested referrals to community supports, or both.

"Court referral" means referral filing a complaint to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court intake worker after the student's seventh unexcused absence. Copies Documentation of interventions regarding the student's unexcused absences, such as copies of the attendance plan and documentation of conference meetings, and compliance with § 22.1-258 of the Code of Virginia will be provided to the intake worker.

"Excused absence" means an absence of an entire assigned instructional school day with an excuse a reason acceptable to the school administration that is provided by the parent. If circumstances permit, the parent should provide the school authority administration with the reason for the nonattendance prior to the absence. Examples of an excused absence may include, but are not limited to, the following reasons: funeral, illness (including mental health and substance abuse illnesses), injury, legal obligations, medical procedures, suspensions, religious observances, and military obligation. Expelled and suspended students continue to remain under the provisions of compulsory school attendance as described in § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia. An absence from school attendance resulting from a suspension or expulsion may be considered excused for the period of the suspension or expulsion.

"Instructional school day" means the length of a regularly scheduled school day for an individual student.

"Multi-disciplinary team" means a school-based team that convenes on a regular basis may be convened to review student records and to identify an integrated system of care for the student in need, including (i) participate in prevention, early intervention, and provision of support services and (ii) to address unexcused absences, including school-based case management. These services should address academic, social, emotional, and familial issues in order to improve regular school attendance. Members of the team meet confidentially with the parent and the student (if appropriate) to develop, evaluate, and update action steps and supports. Team members may include, but are not limited to, the following: an administrator, school counselor, social worker or psychologist, student assistance specialist, special education and regular education teacher, and attendance officer.

"Parent" means the parent or parents, guardian or guardians, legal custodian or legal custodians, or other person or persons having legal control or charge of the student.

"Truancy" means the act of accruing one or more unexcused absences.

"Unexcused absence" means an absence where (i) either the student misses his scheduled instructional school day in its entirety or misses part of the scheduled instructional school day without permission from an administrator and (ii) no indication has been received by school personnel within three days of the absence that the student's parent is aware and supports the absence, or the parent provides an excuse a reason for the absence that is unacceptable to the school administration. An administrator The school administration may change an unexcused absence to an excused absence when it determines that the parent has provided an acceptable excuse reason meeting criteria for the student's absence or there are extenuating circumstances. Absences resulting from suspensions shall not be considered unexcused.

8VAC20-730-20

8VAC20-730-20. Unexcused absences intervention process and responsibilities.

A. Each local school board shall provide guidance regarding what would constitute an excused absence in order to address when the explanation provided by the parent will be determined to be reasonable and acceptable.

B. Each local school board shall develop procedures to ensure that appropriate interventions will be implemented when a student engages in a pattern of absences less than a full day, the explanation for which, if it were a full-day absence, would not be deemed an excused absence.

C. The following intervention steps shall be implemented to respond to unexcused absences from school and to engage students in regular school attendance.

1. Whenever a student fails to report to school on a regularly scheduled school day and no information has been received by school personnel that the student's parent is aware of and supports the absence, the school principal or designee, attendance officer, or other school personnel or volunteer will notify the parent by phone or email or any other electronic means to obtain an explanation. The school staff shall record the student's absence for each day as "excused" or "unexcused." Early intervention with the student and parent or parents shall take place for repeated unexcused absences.

2. When a student has received five unexcused absences, the school principal or designee or the attendance officer shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that direct contact is made with the parent. The parent shall be contactedeither ] in a face-to-face conference, or ] by telephone, or through the use of other communication devices ]. During the direct contact with the parent and the student (if appropriate), reasons for nonattendance shall be documented and the consequences of nonattendance explained. An attendance plan shall be made with the student and parent or parents to resolve the nonattendance issues. The student and parent may be referred to a school-based multi-disciplinary team for assistance implementing the attendance plan and case management.

3. The school principal or designee or the attendance officer shall schedule a face-to-face attendance conference, or an interaction that is conducted through the use of communication technology, ] within 10 school days from the date of the student's sixth unexcused absence for the school year. The attendance conference must be held within 15 school days from the date of the sixth unexcused absence. The conference shall include the parent, student (when applicable), and school personnel (which may be a representative or representatives from the multi-disciplinary team) and may include community service providers.

4. The school principal or designee shall notify the attendance officer or division superintendent of the student's seventh unexcused absence for the school year. The division superintendent or designee shall contact the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court intake to file a Child In Need of Supervision (CHINSup) petition or begin complaint alleging the student is a child in need of supervision (CHINSup) or to institute proceedings against the parent. In addition to documentation of compliance with the notice provisions of § 22.1-258 of the Code of Virginia, all records of intervention regarding the student's unexcused absences, such as copies of the conference meeting notes, attendance plan, and supports provided prior to filing the petition shall be presented to the intake worker. The decision shall be made by the intake worker either to divert the case or to file the petition for presentation before the court.

B. D. A record shall be maintained of each meeting that includes the attendance plan, the name of individuals in attendance at each conference meeting (including via telephone or electronic devices), the location and date of the conference, a summary of what occurred, and follow-up steps. This record does not become a part of the student's permanent scholastic record.

8VAC20-730-30

8VAC20-730-30. Data collection and reporting.

Data collection shall begin on the first day students attend for the school year. Each school division shall provide student level attendance data for each student that includes the number of unexcused absences as in a manner prescribed by the Virginia Department of Education. A student's attendance is cumulative and begins on the first official day of the school year or the first day the student is officially enrolled. All nonattendance days are cumulative and begin with the first absence. For purposes of this data collection, truancy shall start with the first unexcused absence and will be cumulative.

Excused and unexcused absences shall be counted for each individual student and shall be reported to the Virginia Department of Education as follows:

1. All excused and unexcused absences as defined in this chapter for each individual student shall be collected.

2. For each student with five unexcused absences, whether an attendance plan was developed, and if not, the reason.

3. For each student with six unexcused absences, whether an attendance conference was scheduled, and if not, the reason.

4. For each student with six unexcused absences, whether an attendance conference was actually held, and if not, the reason.

5. For each student with seven unexcused absences, whether a court referralor a petition was filed was made ] or if proceedings against the parent or parents were initiated and, if not, the reason.