Attendance Policy

General Attendance Requirements

All children who reach five (5) years of age on or before September 30th 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. Once pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) children are enrolled as DCPS students they are expected to follow the same attendance policies as school-aged students, including attending school on time every day.

Excused Absences and Required Documentation A written note must be provided to the school by the student’s parent or guardian prior to an absence or within five (5) school days after the student’s return to school for an absence to be excused.

Excused Absences

  • Illness of the student (a doctor’s note is required for a student absent five or more consecutive days).
  • 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 proceeding or court-ordered activity, as a party to the action or under subpoena.
  • Observance of a religious holiday.
  • Absences to allow students to visit their parent who is in the military, immediately before, during, or after deployment.
  • An emergency or other circumstance approved by DCPS.
  • College visits for students in 9th through 12th grades (up to three cumulative days in a school year).
  • Absences of expectant or parenting students for a time period specified by their doctor and any accommodations mandated by law.
  • Take Our Children to Work Day.
  • Religious events or celebrations outside of a religious holiday (up to five cumulative days in a school year).
  • Temporary closing of facilities or suspension of classes due to severe weather, official activities, holidays, malfunctioning equipment, unsafe or unsanitary conditions, or other condition(s) or emergency requiring a school closing or suspension of classes.
  • Failure of the District of Columbia to provide transportation in cases where the District of Columbia has a legal responsibility for the transportation of the student.

Unexcused Absence

  • Cutting Class
  • Doing Errands
  • Shopping
  • Vacation
  • Oversleeping
  • Visiting Family

Procedures for Excused Absences

  • All excuse notes and early dismissals must be submitted online at Click on QUICKLINKS and then click on “Attendance Form”. You will need to know your student’s ID Number to complete the form.

Procedures Dismissals

  • All early dismissal must be submitted must be submitted online at
  • Parents can start submitting dismissals at 8:00 am with the student’s full name, ID number, time of dismissal, and parent contact information. If the parent cannot be reached with the number that is in Aspen, the student will not be able to leave the building.

Note: Parents, please submit your early dismissal in the morning or the night before your child has to leave the building. This step will give the Attendance Team time to process the request quickly. The student can pick up the release form at the Main Entrance during STEP. When it’s time for the student to leave the building, they can show security their release pass and exit the building.

If a student becomes ill while in school, the student must notify the teacher and report to the nurse suite. The nurse will asset the student and contact the parent or guardian if the student has to leave the building due to an illness. The nurse will notify the Attendance Counselor to excuse the student.

Required Documentation

A parent or guardian’s written note is sufficient to document any absence of up to four (4) consecutive days. Any such absence will be excused if it falls under one of the excused absence reasons noted above. If a student is absent for five (5) or more consecutive days, further documentation is required beyond communication by the parent for the absence to be excused as follows:

  • Medical or dental absences: Written explanation of the student’s absence must be submitted by a doctor or staff of a relevant agency on official doctor/dentist office letterhead and signed by a relevant official.
  • Judicial proceedings: A student’s required presence at judicial proceedings must be established by a document from the court stating the need for the student’s presence on all the relevant dates.
  • Death in the student’s immediate family: Funeral programs may be accepted as appropriate documentation.
  • Quarantine documentation requirements and exceptions for 5 or more days of consecutive absence Students required to quarantine at the direction of DCPS.

For students who are required to quarantine but not at the direction of DCPS (e.g., because a family member tested positive for COVID-19 and they were contacted by a contact tracer), the parent/guardian must provide written documentation of the quarantine.

The written note must include the date of COVID-19 exposure; the length of time the student has been directed to quarantine by a medical professional or contact tracer; and, if known, identifying information for the medical professional or contract tracer.

For families who have not been directed to quarantine by a contact tracer or medical professional and who have determined on their own that a student should quarantine (e.g., because the student was potentially exposed to COVID-19 or has traveled outside the District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area), the parent/guardian must consult with a medical professional to confirm the recommended length of quarantine or provide a COVID-19 test result administered 3-5 days after the potential exposure.
Please note: All students who have tested positive for COVID-19, must provide the school with documentation of a negative COVID-19 test before they can return to school.


  • Secondary students with ten (10) unexcused absences in any class shall receive an initial written notice that they are at risk of receiving a grade of “FA” (failure due to absences) in that subject upon accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences unless an exception applies.
  • Secondary students with fifteen (15) unexcused absences in any class shall receive an additional written warning that they are at risk of receiving a grade of “FA” (failure due to absences) in that subject upon accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences.
  • Secondary students accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences in a course within a full school year shall receive a failing final grade in that course with a resulting loss of course credit.
  • Students accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences within a school year shall only be promoted if a written justification is submitted by the principal to the Chancellor, or the student attends summer school and is reevaluated for promotion.