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The Viking

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More Students Absent Than Ever

LCPS passes new policy to combat chronic absenteeism
Photo+by+MacKenzie+Bunn
Photo by MacKenzie Bunn

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed students out of schools — but now, some aren’t coming back. Since the 2018-2019 school year, rates of chronic absenteeism (the act of missing 10% or more of the school year) have increased from 10.6% to 20.1% in Virginia

Chronic absenteeism has drawn national attention, as rates have almost doubled across the country since the pre-COVID school years. On both national and state levels, administrations have announced plans to address the problem. 

Loudoun County is no different. Just last week, parents received an email notifying them of a revision to LCPS’ attendance policy

The policy outlines reasons for excused versus unexcused absences, compulsory attendance and potential withdrawal from enrollment. 

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Schools will notify parents or guardians of absent students to determine if the absence is excused. If a student receives five or more unexcused absences or demonstrates constant absenteeism, the parent or guardian will be contacted for an intervention.

Excused absences include: personal illness or injury, death in the family, military obligations, court appearances, school suspensions and medical appointments. School trips, emergencies and civic activities may also be excused for one day. If a student is absent for 15 consecutive school days or more they will be withdrawn from LCPS and must reenroll.

Consistent absence from school correlates with lower academic achievement. Chronically absent students are more likely to drop out of high school and score poorly on tests.  

Chronic absenteeism is also associated with other factors that result in poor academic performance, such as poverty and disability

Attendance is often a factor in a school’s accreditation (a rating given to schools based on adherence to state guidelines). During the pandemic, the Virginia Department of Education suspended factoring attendance into assessing a school’s accreditation. The VDOE has since repealed this decision.   

Despite these potential consequences, many students are still unwilling to consistently attend school. Reasons for chronic absenteeism vary, but LCPS stresses that attitudes towards attendance often start with a student’s family. 

As part of their policy, LCPS promises to support students who are chronically absent, emphasizing communication between students, staff and parents.

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About the Contributors
Ash Woerner, Opinion Editor
My name is Ash Woerner (they/them) and I’m a junior here at Valley. I’m starting my second year on staff as an opinion editor!

Outside of school and its related activities, I enjoy indulging various obsessions, including my current fixation on British horror podcast, "The Magnus Archives." I have a deep passion and affection for aesthetics, tea and the oxford comma. I’m hopeful for what the future holds for me here at The Viking!

Sophia Serice, Reviews & A&E Editor
Hi! My name is Sophia Serice and I am a sophomore this year at Loudoun Valley High School. This is my first year as a Staff Reporter and on the staff at the Viking News. This year as a Staff Reporter I am hoping to bring new ideas and stories to the staff, as well as, improve my journalistic and writing skills. I enjoy writing opinion and feature stories on what is happening in Loudoun Valley! Outside of newspaper, I enjoy reading, watching movies, spending time with animals, and participating in theater. I also have a great passion for the sciences and history. I love to travel and learn about other people in the community around me! I am so excited for what this year is to bring!
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