Attendance Information

TwoAcademic success is only possible with regular school attendance. Please be sure to come to school on time and ready to learn every day, and do your best to leave outside appointments for the after-school hours. Of course, we understand there are times, due to illness or other unforeseen events, that require you to be late or miss class. For the well-being and safety of every BCMS student, we ask that parents and students respect the rules of attendance.

Our attendance policy, informed by the Code of Virginia, remains the same as it was prior to the pandemic, and will be upheld during the 2023–24 school year and beyond. If a student is absent due to an appointment during school hours, parents/guardians are required to provide a professional note to ensure their absence is coded appropriately. As always at Bell Creek, your communication is key to ensuring the accuracy of your student’s attendance record.

Please take the time to review HCPS attendance policies and procedures as written below. Additionally, you may find more attendance information in section 7 of the Hanover County Policy Manual or by contacting Bell Creek Middle School at 804-723-2260.

Attendance Procedures
 Full Day Absence

Parents should report their child's absence as soon as possible and within three days of their return to school in order to excuse the absence. 

  • Written documentation is required from a parent or guardian. Planned absences may be submitted through this Attendance Note. Submit any professional notes (doctor, dentist, orthodontist, counselor, court, etc.) to the main office to excuse absences for professional appointments. You may also contact the front office.
  • All absences without parent notification will remain unexcused. See absence monitoring and limits below.

Late Arrival - After 8:45 a.m.

A student who arrives after 8:45 a.m. is late. He/she should do one of the following:

  • Students coming from a medical, dental, or court appointment should sign in at the attendance office. We request that he/she bring a note from the provider to excuse the absence. If necessary, we will accept a note from a parent. The parent note should include the date, the student’s full name, the excusable reason for late arrival, and the parent’s signature and daytime phone number.
  •  All transportation-related tardies that are not school bus-related are unexcused. This includes car trouble, traffic delays, and late rides. Students who elect to arrive by private transportation should allow extra time for bad traffic conditions or other problems.

Parents do not need to accompany their students inside. Students should report to the main office doors and sign in with attendance. Attendance codes will be tardy if a student is late to the class but attends more than half of the block and absent if a student attends less than half of the block. 

Early Pick Up - Bring ID

We strongly encourage you to schedule all appointments after school hours. If you must leave early, to expedite our dismissal process, please do the following:

  • Complete the early dismissal form or the student may drop off a parent note at the attendance office before school.
  • A pass will be entered into our electronic pass system.
  • The student may quietly leave class at the designated time (we cannot call students out from class).
  • Parents required to show their ID when picking up.
We require anyone picking up a student from school to report to the attendance office and present appropriate identification. If the person picking up a student is not on the student’s pick-up list in PowerSchool, we require written communication from the student’s parent or guardian.

Absence Monitoring and Limits

We monitor attendance daily to determine need for support or intervention.

  • 5 Unexcused/Excused absences: The school will be mailing home an attendance letter and a phone call home to discuss a plan to improve attendance.
  • 10 Unexcused/Excused absences: The school will be mailing home an attendance letter and a phone call home to discuss a plan to improve attendance. At 10 days of absence, a professional note is required to excuse any further absences.
  • 5 Unexcused absences: If a student has five unexcused absences, the school will call home to discuss a plan to improve attendance and reduce unexcused absences.
  • 10 Unexcused Absences: If a student has ten unexcused absences, the student’s administrator will contact the parent to set up an attendance meeting to create a formal attendance plan with the intention of improving the student’s attendance. 

Attendance for Course Credit

Students who miss more than 10 blocks of a year-long class or 5 blocks of a semester block, are required to apply for an attendance waiver. An attendance waiver may be granted by the division superintendent, or his/her designee, if the student is passing the course for which the waiver is being sought AND for one of the following reason(s):

  1. Medical hardship (condition whereby a student could not attend as certified by a licensed physician)
  2. Extenuating educational circumstances as determined by a committee appointed by the division superintendent or his designee or a special education eligibility committee, or
  3. Transfer situations as approved by a committee appointed by the division superintendent or his/her designee.
If a student doesn’t meet the conditions for granting a waiver under medical hardship, extenuating educational circumstances or transfer situations, then the designee (or school based committee) can create a plan to make up for lost instructional time. 

As a general rule, providing medical or professional documentation for absences, early dismissals, and late arrivals provides us with the most accurate picture of your student’s attendance, and expedites our attendance process overall. 
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