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New regulations to govern the collection and reporting of ...
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CHAPTER 730

REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE COLLECTION AND REPORTING OF TRUANCY

8VAC20-730-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meaning, unless the text clearly indicates otherwise:

"Attendance plan" means action steps developed by a school representative (s), parent and student (if appropriate) to engage the student in regular school attendance.  The plan shall identify academic, social, emotional and familial barriers that impede daily attendance along with positive strategies to support regular attendance.   This plan may include school-based activities and/or suggested referrals to community supports. 

"Attendance conference" means a face-to-face meeting, 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. 

"Court referral" means referral to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court intake worker after the student’s seventh unexcused absence. Copies of the attendance plan and documentation of conference meetings will be provided to the intake worker.

"Excused absence" means an absence of an entire assigned instructional school day with an excuse acceptable to the school administration that is provided by the parent.  If circumstances permit, the parent should provide the school authority 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.

"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 to review student records and to identify an integrated system of care for the student in need, including prevention, early intervention, and support services, and 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(s), guardian(s), or other person(s) having legal control of the student.

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

"Unexcused absence" is an absence where:  (1) either the student misses his/her scheduled instructional school day in its entirety; or (2) misses part of the scheduled instructional school day without permission from an administrator; and (3) 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 that is unacceptable to the school administration.   An administrator may change an unexcused absence to an excused absence when the parent has provided an acceptable excuse for the student’s absence or there are extenuating circumstances.  Absences resulting from suspensions shall not be considered unexcused.

8VAC20-730-20. Unexcused Absences Intervention Process and Responsibilities..

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

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, other school personnel or volunteer will notify the parent by phone or e-mail 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."

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 contacted either in a face-to-face conference or by telephone.  During the direct contact with the parent and the student (if appropriate), reason(s) for nonattendance shall be documented and the consequences of nonattendance explained.  An attendance plan shall be made 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.   

The school principal or designee, or the attendance officer, shall schedule a face-to-face attendance conference within ten school days from the date of the student’s sixth unexcused absence for the school year.   The attendance conference must be held within fifteen 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(s) from the multi-disciplinary team) and may include community service providers. 

The principal or designee shall notify the attendance officer or 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 proceedings against the parent.  In addition to documentation of compliance with the notice provisions of § 22.1-258 the Code of Virginia, 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. 

A record shall be maintained of each meeting that includes the attendance plan, the name of individuals in attendance at each conference meeting (including 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. Data Collection and Reporting.

This 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 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: 

(A)             All excused and unexcused absences as defined in these regulations for each individual student shall be collected.

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

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

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

(E)              For each student with seven unexcused absences, whether a court referral/petition was filed.